On Wednesday morning, Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. of Albuera, Leyte, pleaded not guilty to the charges of illegal possession of firearms both against him and his son Roland Kerwin Espinosa Jr., who is still at large.
The charges against the mayor were filed before the sala of Regional Trial Court Branch 14 of Executive Judge Carlos Arguelles. Furthermore, the arraignment for illegal possession of illegal drugs is scheduled to Oct 19.
It was earlier reported that drugs and guns were confiscated during anti-drug operations at the house of Kerwin last July 28 and during subsequent searches at the mayor’s house on August 3.
Lawyer Leilanie Villarino represented Espinosa. Villarino also filed a motion to make invalid the warrant of arrest his alleged violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
To add, the mayor’s camp filed other motions on Wednesday, including the motion to transfer his custody and to fix the amount of bail for his case related to the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
The prosecutors were given five days to study and decide on the motions.
At present, the mayor is detained at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Tacloban City. This followed his arrest on October 5. The mayor is alone in a detention cell. This is said to be part of their security measures, especially that Espinosa is considered to be a high-profile detainee.
It can be recalled that the older Espinosa surrendered to Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa last August 2. This move came after President Rodrigo Duterte publicly demanded that he and his son surrender withn 24 hours or face a “shoot on sight” order.
The older Espinosa, after his surrender, has repeatedly begged for his son to surrender to the authorities. However, such pleads were to no avail.
Reports have it that his son has been hiding in Malaysia.