Kerwin Espinosa admits to paying millions in protection money to generals, police officials

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa named former generals, a drug enforcement agent, and police officials — including the officer who killed his father — as the protectors of his illegal drug business.

Reading his sworn affidavit during the Senate probe on Wednesday, Espinosa said "SOP" or drug payoffs were given to the officers in exchange for the protection of his drug trade in Region 8.

Espinosa bared he gave money to former General Vicente Loot through Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 C/Insp. Leo Laraga for at least a year, to stop the general from cracking down on the drug business.

Laraga led the operation that killed Kerwin's father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, inside his jail cell. He had since admitted he shot and killed the mayor.

Espinosa said Laraga asked for "SOP" for Loot, a total of  ₱120,000 per month. Of which, ₱20,000 went to Laraga.

In a statement on Wednesday, Loot said there were no personal transactions between him and Espinosa.

Loot, a retired police general and now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu, was also named by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the personalities listed on the "narco list." The general had earlier denied the accusations.

Related: Duterte names 5 police generals allegedly linked to illegal drugs

Laraga also denied asking ₱120,000 from Espinosa.

"Madali mag-implicate, pero dapat may basis," Laraga said.

[Translation: It's easy to implicate but there should be basis.]

'I gave money to Col. Marcos'

Supt. Marvin Marcos, the head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas (CIDG-8), was also given ₱3 million in total, Espinosa said.

Espinosa recalled how Marcos expressed interest to talk to him to help Marcos' wife, who was running for vice mayor in Pastrana and needed campaign funding.

"Sabi niya ay kailangan daw ng ₱3 million kaso ₱2.5 million pa lang ang makakaya ko at nagkasundo naman kami," Espinosa's affidavit read.

[Translation: He said he needs ₱3 million, but I can only give ₱2.5 million, and we agreed.]

Kerwin said his father initially gave ₱1.5 million to Marcos. When his father won as Albuera mayor, he gave Marcos a ₱1.5-million bonus, totaling the amount of money to ₱3 million.

 

Marcos however denied asking money for the campaign of his wife, adding they had separated in 2013. He also said he has never been involved in drugs.

More payoffs

Espinosa also revealed he gave bribe money to a certain "General Dolina" in Region 8 in 2015. A check by CNN Philippines shows the regional director of Region 8 in 2015 was General Asher Dolina. 

He said a total of ₱6 million was given to the bagman of Dolina, with ₱300,000 given to the general every month to pay him off.

CNN Philippines is still getting Dolina to comment on the allegation.

Espinosa went on to name several police officers who took protection money ranging from ₱5,000 to ₱15,000 a month.

He also said he gave ₱30,000 per week to a Jordan Sarmiento from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Espinosa also disclosed in his affidavit that he exchanged drugs with P/CInsp. Wilfredo Abordo and PO3 Dennis Torrefiel whenever he was short on drug supply.

"Kapag naubos ang supply ng shabu ng pulis at mayroon ako, binibigyan ko sila. Kung ako naman ang naubusan, sila naman ang nagbibigay sa akin ng shabu kung meron sila," he said.

[Translation: Whenever the police are low on supply and I have some, I give it to them. When I'm low on supply, they give it to me.]

Torrefiel's wife, Josan Ching Torrefiel, said Dennis was imprisoned at the Tacloban City Jail in July with charges connected to drugs. Torrefiel said she was shocked upon hearing Espinosa's accusations.

CNN Philippines is also reaching out to the other named officials.

No 'blue book'

"Wala akong blue book. Inuulit ko, wala akong blue book," Espinosa stressed.

[Translation: I don't own a blue book. I repeat, I don't own a blue book.]

Kerwin and his late father allegedly owned a blue and pink book, respectively, which supposedly contained at least 226 names of personalities and high-ranking officials protecting the drug trade in the Philippines, including Senator Leila De Lima.

Related: Kerwin Espinosa - I gave ₱8M to De Lima's campaign; senator denies allegation

Espinosa said there was no need for a blue book because officials involved in the drug trade in Region 8 were mostly the same people.

"Iilan lang doon sa Region 8 ang protektor ng droga. Ilan lamang ang pangalan na paikot-ikot lang sa mga posisyon nila," he said.

The rise of Kerwin in the drug trade

Kerwin Espinosa started his involvement in the illegal drug trade in 2004. He said he was imprisoned in Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center in Cebu City in 2005, where he met Jeffrey Diaz, also known as Jaguar. Jaguar was believed to be a top drug lord in Cebu. He was killed in an operation in Las Piñas.

He said Jaguar and a certain Lovely Adam Impal were his drug suppliers.

When he and Jaguar were transferred to the New Bilibid Prison in 2008, where he met more drug lords, Espinosa said, many groups inside the Bilibid wanted him to be a part of their group, as he was known as an effective drug "businessman" in Cebu.

"Pinagagawan ako," he said.

High-profile inmate Peter Co was the first person inside the Bilibid to supply him with drugs.

"Ako'y natuto sa kalakaran paano magnegosyo ng shabu kahit nasa loob ako ng kulungan. Natuto ako paano mag-transaksyon," Espinosa said.

(I learned in prison how to do the drug business.)