Lawyer of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa ambushed after court hearing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 19) — Another lawyer connected to the Espinosa family, whose members were allegedly involved in illegal drugs, was ambushed, police said Monday.

According to the Cebu City Police, Jonah John Ungab, lawyer of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, was shot after a promulgation hearing on one of his client's cases in Cebu City.

Cebu City Police spokesperson Artemio Ricabo confirmed that Ungab died in the hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds in the head. The gunman is still unidentified.

Ungab is also the sitting vice-mayor of Ronda, Cebu.

Police said National Bureau of Investigation agents escorted Espinosa while going to and leaving the court, but was not with Ungab during the ambush.

The ambush follows the death of Rogelio Bato in August 2016 from multiple gunshot wounds. Bato was the lawyer of Kerwin's father, slain Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

In October 2017, Kerwin Espinosa pleaded not guilty to charges of trading and distribution of dangerous drugs, which is punishable by life imprisonment.

Authorities arrested Espinosa in Abu Dhabi in October 2016 after the international police organization sent a "red notice" to their counterparts, which seeks the location and arrest of wanted persons, police said. The Philippine National Police later sent officers to bring Espinosa home, and he was eventually placed under NBI custody.

The Baybay Regional Trial Court in Leyte earlier dismissed the case against the older Espinosa after he was shot and killed in a drug raid inside his jail cell on November 5, 2016.

Both father and son were tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte in his list of alleged illegal drug coddlers and traffickers.