Judge forces NBI to present Kerwin in court
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Manila regional trial court judge yesterday compelled the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to present Kerwin Espinosa despite the suspected drug lord’s written notice that he will not attend the hearing due to security reasons.

At the start of yesterday’s hearing, NBI representatives presented Espinosa’s handwritten letter, stating that he fears for his life and that he has no lawyer to represent him, to Branch 26 Judge Silvino Pampilo. 

Espinosa’s lawyer, Jonah John Ungab, also the incumbent vice mayor of Ronda town in Cebu, was killed in an ambush after attending a court hearing at the Cebu City justice hall last Monday.

There were also reports that the NBI had a hard time securing Espinosa because his hearing coincided with Customs broker Mark Taguba’s appearance in another court.

However, Silvino did not agree and ordered the NBI agents to fetch and present to him Espinosa before the conclusion of the hearing.

The judge also warned the NBI that the agency would be cited for contempt if it failed to present Espinosa.

He also gave Espinosa three to five days to find a lawyer.

Espinosa wore a bullet-proof vest and shades when he arrived at Silvino’s courtroom.

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