Big-time drug suspect obtains VIP treatment
Practically sleeping with the enemy.
That’s what Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Philippine National Police chief, did when he let Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte province, sleep at the White House, his official residence in Camp Crame. Espinosa, as everyone knows, is being investigated for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking in Eastern Visayas.
Espinosa was allowed to sleep in one of the rooms occupied by one of Bato’s children. Bato complained at a press conference in Camp Crame yesterday that the room Espinosa slept in reeked of cigarette smoke. The PNP chief was not ashamed to admit to reporters that he let a suspected drug lord sleep in his quarters. If that’s not giving VIP treatment to a suspected drug honcho, I don’t know what it is.
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Bato said charges had not been filed yet against Espinosa who was at the same time being held as pawn for the surrender of his son Kerwin, who was in hiding. Espinosa was earlier given an ultimatum by President Duterte to surrender or he would be shot on sight; the mayor immediately gave himself up. The elder Espinosa, tears streaming down his cheeks, appealed recently to Kerwin on national TV to surrender. Bato, who obviously has a pusong mamon—or is softhearted—was moved by the mayor’s crocodile tears and thus gave the suspected drug lord a key to the White House. The mayor has denied involvement in illegal drugs, but two of his bodyguards who were arrested in a “buy-bust” operation recently pointed to him as a top drug lord in Eastern Visayas.
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Espinosa’s stay at the PNP chief’s official quarters would tend to give the impression that President Digong’s war on drugs is discriminatory. In the eyes of an ordinary citizen, alleged “narco-politicians” who wear designer clothes and shoes like Espinosa are given royal treatment while the unshod pushers are executed unceremoniously. If Mano Digong’s take-no-prisoners campaign were serious, then people would ask: Why was Espinosa not killed along with his fellow lowlifes in a shootout with the police at his mansion complex in Albuera?
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Espinosa could have stayed in a hotel with police escorts while he waited for his son to surrender. Anyway, with all his alleged “narco-wealth,” Espinosa can well afford to stay even for a year at any five-star hotel in Makati. Bato’s reason for giving a suspected drug lord shelter right in his home sucks.
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A congressman in Northern Luzon is a drug lord in his province. This lawmaker has a brother who is a town mayor and is himself a drug trafficker. The involvement of both the congressman and his brother is an open secret in their province.
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The PNP should focus its attention not only on drug trafficking but also on other crimes. Hijacking cargo trucks is rampant on Quirino Highway, from the stretch of Sipocot, Camarines Norte province, to Guinyangan, Quezon province. There have been instances when the hijackers killed the truck drivers and crew. What are the members of the PNP Highway Patrol in those areas doing? Scratching their gonads?