Leyte mayor surrenders for fear for his life, heeds Duterte’s call against drugs

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Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. (L) voluntarily surrendered to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (R) Tuesday morning. Espinosa is in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of government officials identified as protectors of illegal drugs.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. voluntarily surrendered to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa Tuesday morning.

The mayor, according to dela Rosa, is included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of local government officials identified as protectors of illegal drug activities in their areas.

Espinosa said he feared for his life and decided to travel from Leyte to Camp Crame in Manila to surrender to Dela Rosa. According to Dela Rosa, Espinosa waited for him from 7 a.m. Monday until 4 a.m. the following day.

Patayin ako ni General Dela Rosa pag ‘di ako nag surrender,” Espinosa told the media in a press conference where he was presented.

[Translation: General Dela Rosa would kill me if I didn't turn myself in.]

According to Dela Rosa, Espinosa admitted to him that his son Kerwin was involved in illegal drug activities in Eastern Visayas.

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Espinosa admitted in front of the media afterwards, that his son was getting supply of illegal drugs from detained drug lord Peter Co and from a local prison in Abuyog, Leyte.

Kung hindi sya mag-surrender, mamamatay sya. E gusto nya mabuhay,” Dela Rosa said. “Wala tayo magagawa kasi nag-surrender eh, we have to accept him.”

[Translation: If he did not surrender he will be killed. He wants to live. We have no choice because he surrendered, we have to accept him.]

Dela Rosa added, the mayor’s son, who has a standing warrant of arrest in connection with the illegal drug trade, should surrender or he would be killed.

“If he resists arrest at lumaban, patayin talaga yan,” Dela Rosa said. [If he resists arrest and he fights, he will really be killed.]

Dela Rosa named “Kerwin” as the No. 1 drug lord in Eastern Visayas and said that the mayor’s son is presumed armed and dangerous.

Asked whether he used drug money for his campaign in the recent elections, Espinosa denied this and said he used his own money.

“No, no. I used my own money. My family is in the U.S.,” Espinosa said.

Espinosa also vowed to crack down illegal drugs in Albuera, saying there would be “zero tolerance” for illegal drugs in his hometown.

Dela Rosa said the PNP would continue pursuing Espinosa’s son Kerwin. The mayor even backed the possible killing of his son if Kerwin resists arrest.

Watch: Human rights and the fight vs. drugs

Espinosa, however, also admitted that his son has had a plastic surgery, like him.

“Your father already surrendered so you should follow your father," dela Rosa said addressing Kerwin, who is still at large. "Kung nakikinig ka, mamamatay ka talaga. Mamamatay ka talaga. Your life is really in danger.”

[Translation: If you're listening, you will die. You will die. Your life is really in danger.]

The Albuera mayor, who agreed to undergo drug testing, will be turned over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

But Dela Rosa said that Espinosa had no standing warrant of arrest, so he might be allowed to return to his hometown in Leyte — but with close monitoring of the police.

Watch: CNN Philippines Presents: War on Drugs