Kerwin Espinosa’s removal from witness program does not affect his cases — DOJ

Published February 11, 2022, 2:05 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Kerwin Espinosa

The removal of alleged drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa from the government’s Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program (WPSBP) will not affect the pending drug cases in courts against him and those against his fugitive co-accused Peter Go Lim.

Prosecutor General Benedicto A. Malcontento said on Friday, Feb. 11, that the prosecution will no longer utilize Espinosa as witness in the drugs cases.

Espinosa has pending illegal drugs cases before the regional trial courts in Manila and Leyte. Since then, he has been detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

But with his removal from the WPSBP, Malcontento said the prosecution has asked the courts to transfer his detention to a facility under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)

“We filed a motion to transfer him to a regular jail,” he said.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra had issued a notice of termination on Espinosa’s coverage under WPSBP. “Your coverage under the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program (WPSBP), upon the recommendation of OIC Deputy Director Atty. Eleanor Rachel M. Angeles, National Bureau of Investigation, effective immediately, in view of your continued commitment of various violations inside the detention facility…”

“Accordingly, the termination of your coverage carries the accessory coverage of your wife and dependents,” he also informed Espinosa.

Guevarra said that under the memorandum of agreement, Espinosa agreed to “abide by WPSBP policies, restrictions, directives, rules and regulations.”

Among the violations committed by Espinosa during his NBI detention were “harassment of other inmates; smuggling activities; drinking liquor; extorting money from other inmates in exchange that the latter will not be committed to another detention facility; violating the curfew hours and roaming around the cells of other inmates, despite repeated warnings not to do so; communicating with other inmates on cases involving violations of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; and possessing prohibited items such as mobile phones and bladed weapons, during clearing operations.”

“Further, on 13 January 2022, the National Bureau of Investigation discovered that you and two other inmates were planning to escape from the detention facility which is contrary to the Memorandum of Agreement you have with the WPSBP,” Guevarra also said in the notice.