By Ria Fernandez
Defense lead counsel Jesus Obejero insisted that the prosecution could not use as evidence the judicial affidavit that Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa executed before the Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG), now known as PNP-Drug Enforcement Unit (DEG), on November 22, 2016.
“This judicial affidavit was stated for purposes of using this against (Sen. Leila) de Lima and the other police officers,” Obejero said during his cross-examination of lawyer Enrico Rigor, chief of the PNP-DEG Legal and Investigation Division, at the continuation of the trial on Espinosa’s illegal drug trade and possession of firearms cases Friday morning at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 26.
“Afterwards, he was granted legislative immunity and he was admitted into the witness protection program. We are trying to show that this statement can’t be used against him (Espinosa) because that’s what the law says,” he added.
In his responses to Obejero, Rigor admitted that Espinosa’s affidavit was prepared in time for the Senate inquiry into the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa two years ago.
He also confirmed that the accused made no mention about the buy-bust operation of the Albuera Police against Jose Antipuesto nor the evidence recovered thereafter – the subject of this particular case.
“There is no statement from Espinosa in his judicial affidavit that the illegal drugs recovered during the buy-bust operation from July 28, 2016 came from him?,” Obejero asked, to which Rigor answered, “there’s no mention from him.”
The prosecution moved before Presiding Judge Silvino Pampilo, Jr. to have Atty. Rigor testify again in the next scheduled hearing to present an audio recording of his interview with Espinosa.
“We do not know. It’s human nature (that) we forget something,” Assistant Prosecutor Christian Bachiller said, explaining the need for them to present the CD, whose contents were already transcribed in the affidavit.
Sen. Lacson as “last witness”
Meanwhile, the prosecution mulls getting Sen. Panfilo Lacson as its “last witness.”
It can be recalled that it is Lacson’s committee on public order and dangerous drugs along with Sen. Richard Gordon’s committee on justice and human rights that led the inquiry on Mayor Espinosa’s death.
“We will first talk to him, your honor,” Asst. Pros. Bachiller said.
The hearing for this month is set to conclude on August 31.