ILOILO City – Five residents of Barangay Monica Blumentritt, City Proper linked their barangay captain to illegal drugs.
In a complaint filed before the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) yesterday, they accused Keith “Dabing” Espinosa of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty for the proliferation of illegal drugs in their village.
Espinosa is the wife of Jesus “Jing-jing” Espinosa who recently claimed their non-inclusion in the drug list made public by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was the exoneration they have long been seeking.
But according to Leticia Chavez, Edmar Cortes, Noel Espinosa Jr., Ma. Lexie Losanes, and Rhinestone Sucgang, the couple’s “unexplained wealth is apparent to the residents of the barangay” even if the spouses have no visible means of living.
They accused their barangay captain of deliberately failing to organize a barangay anti-drug abuse council and not including her husband in the list of suspected drug personalities in their village.
In Oct. 2, 2016 the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Group of the Police Regional Office 6 raided the Espinosa couple’s house and seized seven sachets of shabu. The barangay captain, however, claimed these were “planted.”
The complaint was coursed through Councilor Plaridel Nava who in turn wrote the city council to include it in the agenda of their regular session on May 8.
Nava said the complaint would likely be referred to the appropriate committee and the respondent would be given an opportunity to answer.
“After that, kon wala na iban nga issues, pwede na kami ka-render judgment, pwede na kami ka obra committee recommendations whether i-adopt namon kon may i-impose nga penalty or wala,” said Nava.
Last year, the city council investigated Barangay Captain Espinosa and two others – Remia Prevendido Gregori of Bakhaw, Mandurriao district and Noemi Jablo of Desamparados, Jaro – for allegedly failing to act on the illegal drug problem in their villages, especially for not including relatives in their drug watch lists.
It later recommended the filing of formal complaints against Espinosa and Gregori while it cleared Jablo.
Under Department Circular Number 2015-63 of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), all barangay captains must revitalize their anti-drug abuse councils and make a confidential list of suspected users, pushers, financiers and/or protectors of illegal drug trade in their areas for submission to the DILG.
The city council forwarded its findings and recommendations on Espinosa and Gregori to the Office of the Ombudsman.
As of this writing, however, the Ombudsman was yet to act on it.
Nava hoped that the complaint would encourage residents of other villages to also file charges against their barangay officials with suspected links to illegal drugs.
“I hope dira sa Bakhaw may mangisog man because indi ini masolbar kon gobyerno lang. Kinanglan sang bulig halin sa pumouyo,” said Nava.
In an interview after PDEA released its drug list on Monday, Jesus “Jing-jing” Espinosa declared: “I know the truth will prevail.”
Espinosa ranked No. 2 in the Iloilo City Police Office – Police Station 1’s list of suspected drug personalities in the City Proper in 2016. He is currently detained at the Iloilo District Jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo serving an eight-year prison sentence as accomplice in a frustrated murder case 12 years ago.
“I and my wife are not involved in illegal drugs,” insisted Espinosa. “Wala kami nagabaligya sang droga. Nagapangabuhi kami sang matarong, galing sad to know nga ginadawit gid nila ako sa illegal drugs.”/PN