Leyte mayor on leave as 5 in his staff discovered with P1.9M shabu
ALBUERA, Leyte — Two bodyguards of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and his three employees were arrested during a buy-bust operation on Thursday afternoon where at least P1.9 million worth of shabu were recovered. Four other suspects managed to escape after they went inside the house of Kerwin Espinosa, the mayor’s son, and locked the gate, the police said. The house of Kerwin is located inside a gated compound where his father also lives.
Chief Insp. Jove Espinido, Albuera police chief, said they had no authority to barge into the compound after the gate was locked. “We want a fair fight. We don’t want martial law,” he added. He did not say what his next legal move would be to compel the Espinosas to surrender the suspects.
The buy-bust operation was conducted about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, at the tennis court near the houses of the mayor and his son at Sitio Tinago, Barangay Benolho in this town. The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to reach Mayor Espinosa but was told that he had gone on leave since last week. Arrested during the operation were two of the mayor’s bodyguards – Jessie Ocares, 34; and Marcelo Adorco, 40 – and his three employees – Jose Antipuesto, Jeffrey Pesquera and Ernesto Dumalat.
Antipuesto, 36, who took care of the mayor’s fighting cocks, was the target of the buy-bust operation after the police received reports that he was selling the illegal substance, said Espinido. He said a poseur buyer bought P300 worth of shabu from Antipuesto. When the undercover policeman announced it was a sting operation, several men at the tennis court scampered in different directions. But the joint team of the local police and the Regional Police Safety Battalion was able to collar Antipuesto and four others. Although Ocares and Adorco were armed, they didn’t put up a fight.
Four men managed to escape by seeking refuge to the house of Kerwin. Seized from Ocares were a .45-caliber pistol and a pack of shabu weighing 84 grams. A .45 caliber pistol and a packet of shabu weighing 121 grams were recovered from Adorco.
At least 14.8 grams of shabu were recovered from Antipuesto. Pesquera, 39 and a native of Cebu City, also worked for the mayor as caretaker of his fighting cocks. Shabu was also found in his possession. Dumalat, 20, and another employee of the mayor, was caught with two small packs of shabu weighing 3.7 grams. The suspects denied owning the shabu recovered from them. All in all, the packets of shabu would reach P1.9 million in street value. Adorco and Ocares said guns seized by the police were covered by licenses and a permits to carry firearms. The five were detained at the Albuera police lock up cell pending filing of charges for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act 2002).