By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA – Gun possession charges filed against alleged Western Visayas-based drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa has been dismissed by a Manila Regional Trial Court on Monday.
In a 47-page decision promulgated Sept. 4, Manila regional trial court (RTC Br. 16) Judge Janice Yulo-Antero acquitted Espinosa, 43, of charges for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Explosives (Republic Act 9516).
The six fire arms in the charge, included five rifles and a sub-machine gun, were recovered during the Aug. 3, 2016 police raid in the Espinosa residence in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Binulho in Albuera, Leyte.
Marcelo Adorco, Espinosa’s supposed bodyguard and driver, earlier recanted his statement saying he was only coerced to sign it.
“The truth being is that he was the bodyguard and driver of Mayor (Rolando) Espinosa, especially during cockfights; that the firearms and ammunition were all taken from the houses of Mayor Espinosa and that accused Kerwin has no knowledge about these,” the court said.
“Be that as it may, this court rules and so holds that even without his (Adorco) recantation, the prosecution miserably failed to prove the guilt of accused Rolan ‘Kerwin’ Espinosa beyond reasonable doubt that he was in effect in control and possession over the firearms/weapons and ammunition, neither was he in actual nor constructive possession of the same,” the court added.
Espinosa and his family were abroad during the raid.
Based on court records, Espinosa and his family left the Philippines on June 21, 2016 for Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi.
Espinosa was arrested in Dubai in October of the same year and consequently deported to Manila on Nov. 16, 2016.
Espinosa still faces a drug charge and two other cases for violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act. (PNA)