By Ria Fernandez
Self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa will remain under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), according to a court in Manila.
In its Commitment Order dated August 17 and signed by Presiding Judge Silvino Pampilo, Jr., the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 26 ordered the NBI to keep Espinosa detained in its facility.
“The Jailer is directed to forthwith retain the custody of the accused at its detention facility for confinement,” it said.
Atty. Jesus Obejero, defense lead counsel, filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Issuance of Commitment Order last August 2, stressing the need for the court trying Espinosa’s case to issue a new yet the same order.
“The Commitment Order was issued prior to the Resolution of the Supreme Court ordering the transfer of the cases against the accused to the RTC of Manila,” he averred.
Baybay RTC Branch 14, the court that previously handled Espinosa’s cases, issued a Commitment Order on December 6, 2016 in relation to the request of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to transfer him to the NBI in Manila due to security risks.”
Months later, the Third Division of the Supreme Court eventually granted the plea of Espinosa to have all his cases moved to Manila.
This, after careful consideration of the case of Espinosa, who turned as a state witness, following his tell-all about his drug operations in Eastern Visayas that implicated several personalities including high ranking government officials and police officers.
“Clearly, he is vulnerable to threats and physical harm such that he has to be placed under the protective custody of the NBI,” the High Court said in its resolution on April 24, 2017.