Cebu City Mayor Osmeña instruct cops: Find ‘drug trader’ Kerwin Espinosa
CEBU CITY— Mayor Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City has ordered the police to look for suspected drug trafficker Kerwin Espinosa after receiving reports that he might be hiding in Cebu City where he has relatives. He also challenged the Philippine National Police to arrest the police protectors of Kerwin, one of whom would soon be assigned in Cebu City. “Now I challenge the PNP to find Kerwin who is known to be somewhere here in Cebu,” he said. Osmeña said that if the police could find Kerwin’s protectors in the PNP, he would reconsider his decision to pull out support to the Cebu City Police after PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa removed his police officials from the city.
Police officials earlier said they received reports that Kerwin had left the country. Reports that Kerwin may be hiding in Cebu City have been sending jitters to his relatives who now fear for their lives. Two aunts of Kerwin in Barangay Hipodromo, Cebu City, said they were afraid that law enforcers might also kill them because of their blood relations to Kerwin, described by police as the biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas. The two women said strangers were looking for them last Monday.
“They looked suspicious. If they went inside our house, I would really kill them. They should not dare come in. I hope you understand that we’re just being careful because we don’t know what will happen,” one of the aunts said. Kerwin’s 60-year-old aunt, who requested anonymity for security reasons, admitted that Kerwin used to take shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and was even arrested for possession of illegal drugs years ago. “Of course, he was still young at that time. He’s just a victim of circumstances. But to tell you honestly, he’s a good person,” she said. The aunt said Kerwin left their ancestral house in Barangay Hipodromo about 10 years ago and had not been seen there since. “We really don’t know where Kerwin is now. We don’t know his whereabouts and we’re not hiding him. I’m sure he heard the news and it’s up to him to surrender or not,” she said.
She admitted being anxious over what the government would do to Kerwin with the intensified campaign against illegal drugs. “I hope God will protect our family. You know the abuse of authority and power has reigned,” she said. Hipodromo barangay captain Petronilo Fat Jr. confirmed that Kerwin’s relatives in the barangay have become afraid of being dragged into the controversy. “They are scared because they might be dragged in the problem,” he added. Fat said he believed Kerwin would not go to their house in Hipodromo because the suspect knew that the policemen were monitoring all possible places where he could hide. Kerwin grew up in the village where his family owned a house in Sitio Cahipa, said Fat.
He said Kerwin’s mother, Sally, was born in Hipodromo. Fat said Kerwin was known to have several “barkadas” (close buddies ) when he was young and used to have a girlfriend in the village. Fat said Kerwin probably learned the illegal drug trade while still in Hipodromo, one of the villages in Cebu City that were plagued with problems of illegal drugs.
When Kerwin was arrested, he added, he was a neophyte drug pusher and was later released. Kerwin decided to transfer his base to Albuera town in Leyte after the death of Cresistomo “Tata Negro” Llaguno, an alleged drug lord, in 2010, Fat said. But Fat said Kerwin would often visit their house in the village. He recalled that Kerwin attended the burial of the grandmother. Kerwin’s uncle is reportedly the one staying in their house.