Ale­jan­drino dis­misses claims of Espino: ‘LGU only val­i­dated in­for­ma­tion on his case’

Sun.Star Pampanga - - FRONT PAGE - BY PRINCESS CLEA ARCELLAZ Sun.Star Staff Re­porter

ARAYAT – In­cum­bent Mayor Em­manuel “Bon” Ale­jan­drino of this town yes­ter­day be­lied the al­le­ga­tions of his po­lit­i­cal ri­val, for­mer mayor Luisito “Chito” Espino on the sup­posed in­volve­ment of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit in his re­cent ar­rest.

Op­er­a­tives of the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion and De­tec­tion Group (CIDG), to­gether with mem­bers of the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice Spe­cial Ac­tion Force (PNP-SAF) and lo­cal po­lice raided the house of Espino while serv­ing search war­rant op­er­a­tion 23-2017 is­sued on Fe­bru­ary 7, 2017 by Judge Ana Marie Jo­son-Viterbo of RTC Branch 24

(Ca­banat­uan, Nueva Ecija) against the for­mer mayor for al­leged il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of firearms and nar­cotics.

Espino, Ca­cu­tud vil­lage chair­man Rosendo Di­zon, along with Romy Mal­lari, Ce­sar Per­alta and Rosauro Dillera, were nabbed by CIDG and lo­cal po­lice for al­legedly op­er­at­ing a pri­vate armed group iden­ti­fied as Espino Crim­i­nal Gang al­legedly led by the for­mer mayor.

The for­mer mayor, how­ever, claimed that he is not a leader nor a mem­ber of any syn­di­cate, par­tic­u­larly a gun-for-hire group, and does not or never sold or used il­le­gal drugs.

He claimed that the charges against him are “purely po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated or­ches­trated to mar his rep­u­ta­tion and dis­credit him to his fel­low Aray­ateños.”

Dis­miss­ing Espino’s case, Ale­jan­drino said that the only role of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit was to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion re­quested from them by the law en­force­ment bod­ies.

He ex­plained that res­i­dents around Espino’s house are the ones re­port­ing the in­ci­dents based from the ac­tiv­i­ties they wit­ness in the area.

“May mga re­ports kami na natatang­gap na la­hat ng mga may ili­gal na gawain, pag may na­ma­matay tsaka na­ho­holdap, diyan tu­matakbo sa banda nila. So nag-val­i­date ang CIDG, with the help of our con­stituents there, na dun nga sila lumal­abas at puma­pa­sok,” he said.

Ale­jan­drino as­serted that there is clearly no pol­i­tics be­hind Espino’s ar­rest but is the fruit of the il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties he al­legedly com­mit­ted.

He said that it was not he or the lo­cal gov­ern­ment who con­ducted the raid but law en­force­ment agen­cies.

“Anong motibo ko? Ti­nalo ko siya by al­most 15,000. Ang mga kababayan namin gusto na ng pag­babago, matal­ino na ang mga tao. Siya ang gu­mawa niyan kaya da­pat hara­pin niya,” he stressed.

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