DUBAI – How did Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa, son of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr of Albuera town, Leyte arrive in the United Arab Emirates?
The younger Espinosa is a suspected drug lord in central Philippines. He was set to surrender in early August to Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa but had apparently gone into hiding.
Authorities are now probing the people who facilitated Kerwin’s travel to the UAE. The Dubai-based travel agency that facilitated Espinosa’s travel to the UAE, noted that Kerwin used a different name in his passport which is ‘Rolan Espinosa.’
In the visa application, it was applied as a family. He was with his wife and three kids who are all aged 4 and below. Kerwin’s family applied for a three-month visa but their sponsor, an Abu Dhabi resident, advised to just give 14 day-visas,” according to the travel agent.
Both Mayor Espinosa and his son allegedly operated a “family-owned” illegal drugs trade in central Philippines.
Abu Dhabi Police is currently investigating whether Kerwin made drug transactions in the UAE during his stay, according to Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio Vingno.
Kerwin is currently under investigation by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Investigation Department.
The UAE authorities came to know about the presence of Kerwin after the Philippine National Police provided information and sent a team to Abu Dhabi.
Kerwin, who was spotted by OFWs in Abu Dhabi, was arrested by the Abu Dhabi police and PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) in coordination with Interpol, said dela Rosa.
“Our team from AIDG led by Senior Superintendent (Albert) Ferro in coordination with criminal investigation division of the Abu Dhabi police arrested the drug lord Kerwin Espinosa,” Dela Rosa said.
Kerwin, now under the custody of the Abu Dhabi police, will be repatriated to the Philippines to face charges.
The Philippines, however, does not have an extradition treaty with the UAE. Any person who violates the UAE law and has a case in the Philippines cannot be immediately extradited because he has to face charges in the UAE first.
Vingno said Espinosa has been in the country since September 23 on a visit visa. “Authorities are investigating who are the people involved here, who helped him here. Those people around him they are all prime suspects. Who got the apartment for him because you cannot just get an apartment here without a residence visa? Somebody must have gotten it for him. There are many angles to the case,” Vingno said.
“Probably they [police] would like to find out if he transacted business in drugs here as well. Should that be the case, that’s another thing. There are consequences to that which he will be tried and sentenced.”