Cebu News

Cheques issued to government execs, policemen found

The Freeman

PALO, LEYTE, Philippines — A bulk of encashed cheques amounting to P4.45 million issued to a number of government officials and policemen in Eastern Visayas were recovered by the Albuera police operatives from the houses of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and his son Kerwin.

The cheques were discovered during a simultaneous raid by the police on Sunday, said Albuera Police Station chief Jovy Espenido.

Normally, the bank returns the cheques to the issuer after these are encashed by the payee.

Espenido said the bank cheques were seized from Espinosa’s bookkeepers and accountants and are now in police custody. He, however, refused to reveal the identities of the public officials to whom the cheques were issued.

It will reportedly be Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa who will decide what to do with the cheques.

 Dela Rosa will be visiting Leyte for the 115th PNP Day celebration and will see for himself the items seized from Espinosa’s house, including the firearms and shabu, recovered from earlier raids.

"We cannot reveal their identities (of the government officials who received the cheques) for the meantime because all the information regarding the said possible payola will be available during the visit of our PNP chief," Espenido said.

What he could disclose, based on the cheques issued, is that the alleged “drug protection money” at P25,000 per month went to a cop with a rank of PO1. Other high ranking police officials allegedly received millions and luxury vehicles.

A court official who asked not to be named commented that these cheques can be used as evidence of a paper trail, which can show the illegal transactions between the Espinosas and the public officials and policemen.

Mayor back

 Espinosa returned to the Albuera town hall yesterday to employees shedding tears of sympathy for him.

Facing the media with his two daughters who were also in tears, Espinosa described the allegations against him as “political persecution” allegedly instigated by his opponents.

He said the accusations against him of being a drug protector or a narco politician are “all politically motivated.”

 Espinosa denied he owned the cache of firearms and the P88 million worth of shabu seized in a police raid from his houses and that he wished the ongoing police investigation will be just and fair, and based on facts. He added that he will face all the accusations against him and that he will never leave or travel abroad to evade them all.

 Early last week, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 and the PNP formally filed various criminal cases against Mayor Espinosa and his son Kerwin, for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and for violation of the dangerous drugs law, which are non-bailable.

 Provincial Prosecutor Maria Arlene Cordovez told The FREEMAN that a subpoena will be issued this week to the Espinosas for their counter-affidavits regarding the charges now pending for resolution. She however refused to name the prosecutor who is assigned to investigate the cases for security purposes.

 Espenido meanwhile blamed the previous leadership of the Albuera police for allegedly tolerating the “drug trade” of the Espinosas that have in time spread throughout Eastern Visayas. (FREEMAN)

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