TWO incumbent senators received drug money from Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, according to a sworn statement he has prepared, whistleblower Sandra Cam said Monday.
One senator, she said, received P5.7 million from Espinosa in 2015—but Cam would not identify either of the senators.
Earlier, Albuera, Leyte police chief Jovie Espinido said Senator Leila de Lima had accepted drug money from Espinosa—an allegation De Lima has consistently denied.
Espenido had testified before the Senate that De Lima accepted P8 million from Espinosa. He also said it was Kevin, Kerwin’s brother, who delivered the drug money to De Lima and personally handed the amount to her at the Dampa Restaurant in Pasay City.
But Cam said Kerwin had told her he gave the senator P1.7 million, P2 million and another P2 million—totaling P5.7 million—in October, November and December in Metro Manila and “up north.”
Cam suggested the money was for the campaign.
Cam, who also ran for senator in the May elections, said the second senator has never been accused of being involved in drug operations. But she said the mere fact that the senator accepted money from a drug lord made him a protector.
She said it was shocking to see the list of names that included senators, congressmen, governors and police generals.
Philippine National Police Chief Ronaldo dela Rosa, meanwhile, chided De Lima for predicting Espinosa’s death while in transit from Abu Dhabi to Manila.
Espinosa is scheduled to appear at the Senate hearing tentatively on Wednesday for a possible face-off with De Lima, one of the high-ranking government officials allegedly listed in the ledger of his late father linked to the illegal drug trade in Eastern Visayas.
“Over our dead bodies if he will die,” Dela Rosa said of De Lima’s prediction.
The younger Espinosa, tagged as one of the country’s drug dealer in Eastern Visayas arrived last Sunday in the country after he was extradited by Abu Dhabi authorities following his arrest to faced illegal drug charges in Manila.
De Lima has said that Kerwin would suffer the same fate that of his father, who was killed by policemen in his jail cell.
Dela Rosa said the PNP had provided the younger Espinosa with adequate security.
Espinosa has supposedly prepared an affidavit that names politicians and other government officials, but the document has not been released pending his appearance at the Senate.
Before his death in a supposed ensued shootout with lawmen at the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail in Leyte, Rolando Espinosa Sr. said in a TV interview that a senator, a congressman and police officials were on his list, but refused to name them.
But Espinido said that based on Espinosa’s ledger, there was one senator who used to be a Justice secretary.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who heads the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the younger Espinosa said he wanted to avoid his father’s fate, in a draft affidavit that he e-mailed to the senator.
“He said he hopes not to be killed. He said many things in his affidavit,” Lacson said.
Lacson’s committee is leading the Senate investigation on the circumstances surrounding the slaying of Espinosa’s father.
Kerwin is temporarily detained at the PNP Custodian Center inside Camp Crame.
Lacson also said Kerwin’s draft affidavit contained new names of personalities, allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
The senator said there are government officials on the list, but most of them are police officials.
Lacson said he had not yet finished reading the entire affidavit, and described Espinosa as “very cooperative.”
Malacañang said Monday that the subpoenas filed by the Justice department against De Lima and other personalities facing drug complaints will give her the chance to explain her side regarding the allegations of the President in connection with the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison.
“The subpoenas are supposed to give the senator the opportunity to defend herself from allegations of her involvement in drug trade. Her duty is to answer to the public who awaits her side of the story,” Communications Assistant Secretary Anna Marie Banaag said in a text message.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre issued subpoenas directed at De Lima and the other respondents Monday.
Others named in the various complaints were her driver-lover Ronnie Dayan, former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu, former BuCor officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos, De Lima’s former security aide Joenel Sanchez, and several inmates, including Herbert Colanggo, Peter Co and Jojo Baligad.
De Lima on Monday branded as “totally insane” and “outrageously ridiculous” the latest allegations that she was a protector and financier of Abu Sayyaf members.
“This latest accusation that I am a protector and financier of terrorists is not only totally insane but also outrageously ridiculous!” said De Lima in a statement.
De Lima was earlier slapped with drug charges by the National Bureau of Investigation before the Department of Justice in connection with her alleged involvement in the drug trade in New Bilibid Prisons when she was Justice secretary.
“It only exposes at how this administration could bend so low at digging in the imagined dirt that it fails to see the public laughing at them,” De Lima said.
The staunchest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate said she was already too exhausted and disgusted at the administration’s “obsession for manufactured lies and malicious conjectures to smear my integrity and damage my name.”
“Sadly, some hapless pawns are more than willing to play in this vicious game of political persecution and character assassination,” she said.
“But what is getting clearer to me and to most good people I know is that the administration’s demolition job against its political opponents is sinking to a new low to hide its own incompetence and recklessness to address more pressing national problems,” she also said.
The senator issued the statement in the wake of reports that she and four others have been charged in the Ombudsman over the release of Mohammad Sali Said, Jul Ahmad Ahadi and Robin Sahiyal from the Special Intensive Care Area of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig on Feb. 15, 2013.
De Lima, along with former Sulu governor Abdusakur Tan, Mehol Sadain, Wendell Sotto, and Ediwasif Baddiri allegedly violated The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 for knowingly and directly aiding, protecting, providing shelter, transportation and legal services and financing the release of the three prisoners.
The complaint was filed by human rights activist Temogen Tulawie, who was accused in a bombing in 2009. With John Paolo Bencito