Ex-gov built P4-b fortune on illegal acts
PANGASINAN Rep. Amado Espino Jr. has allegedly amassed an estimated P4 billion in ill-gotten wealth out of unlawful activities such as illegal drugs, black sand mining, quarrying, illegal numbers games, massive land grabbing and corruption when he was governor, a source told the Manila Standard Thursday.
The source said in Bugallon alone, the Espinos owned 300 hectares of land, allegedly acquired through land grabbing and harassment using his powers as governor.
Espino, he said, built mansions, resorts and restaurants and built roads and bridges leading to these properties using capitol funds.
“In 2014, using capitol funds, Espino bought dredging materials worth P30 million to reclaim a 10-hectare island, where a resort-mansion and a swimming pool were built. Around that island was a 20-hectare fish pond in Barangay Dupo, Binmaley. Roads leading to the resort were built using public funds,” the source said.
The source said Espino also used public funds, capitol equipment and manpower to build a mansion in Urduja, Lingayen and what the Pangasinenses called a “White House Mansion” in Bautista.
In 2015, Espino acquired Riverside Resort and Restaurant in Bugallon and built a bridge over Agno River leading to the resort and the inland roads leading to the bridge and resorts were grabbed by his armed men.
Espino also put up an airconditioned poultry that could house as many as 50,000 chickens in Barangay Portic in Bugallon.
Another cockfighting farm that houses thousands of fighting cocks was owned by Espino as he was “fond of cockfighting.”
Also in Poblacion, Bugallon, Espino put up a quarry for his black sand mining operations and incorporated the Jumel Construction Corp., named after his youngest son, now Bugallon Mayor Jumel Espino.
“The family also owned a crushing plant and ashphalting plant in Barangay Hacienda Espino near the Hacienda Espino Elementary School, not minding schoolchildren were suffering from lung problems,” the source said.
The Espinos’ construction firm now owns a 20-fleet truck and heavy equipment that corners all infrastructure projects of the provincial capitol that benefited the Espinos’ crushing and asphalting plants.
“Espino did not know conflict of interest from Adam,” the source said.
Espino’s eldest son, Amado Espino III, is now governor of Pangasinan.
Espino’s brother Amadeo Espino is mayor of Bautista where several hundreds of hectares of agricultural lands and three fish ponds were owned by the Espinos.
Espino’s nephew, Joseph Espino, son of the mayor, is vice mayor of Bautista.
The Espinos also own the Jumel Aqua-Culture Development Corp. that monopolized the fish pond (bangus or milk fish) business in Pangasinan.
When he was governor and his son succeeded Espino, they acquired hundreds of hectares of agricultural lots and prime properties in Tupa, Bolinao; Bical Bayambang; and Cabauan, Bautista.
The Espinos also own three big fish ponds in Bautista and two fish ponds in Oaoa, Bayambang.
They have a residential lot in Urdaneta City and three parcels of lands in Alaminos City.
Outside of Pangasinan, the Espinos own a residential lot in Culiat, Quezon City, four residential lots in Angeles City and a condominium unit in Katipunan, Quezon City.
Outside of the Philippines, Espino bought for his daughter a house in an exclusive subdivision in Vorhees, Township in New Jersey, USA.
In his 2014 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, Espino declared P35.32 million in net worth.
The father owns a Toyota Land Cruiser (P4.3 million); a Toyota Grandia (P1.7 million); a Nissan Patrol (P600,000); two Toyota Grandias (P680,000 each); and a Mazda (P200,000).
Jumel Espino, the mayor, declared a net worth of P2.45 million, but owns a Ford Explorer that is worth P2.7 million.