By Ria Fernandez
A judge hearing drug lord Kerwin Espinosa’s illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges has recused from handling the cases, according to a court staff.
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali will no longer try Espinosa’s aforementioned cases that stemmed from a buy-bust operation in the latter’s house in Sitio Tinago, Binolho Village, Albuera, Leyte a few years ago.
However, the court staff, who did not identify herself, did not state the reason of Judge Umali’s inhibition.
Asked for a copy of the order, she said all records pertaining to Espinosa’s cases were already removed from their sala.
But a reliable source, who requested anonymity for security, told the Manila Bulletin that Judge Umali’s decision was due to a report about a ‘sheriff’ of the Court offering Espinosa help to expedite his cases.
Judge Umali and Espinosa both denied the allegation.