‘Leila, Espino in cahoots’
They protected each other’s illegal activities—sources
Then Department of Justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, who was in charge as supervisor of Bureau of Corrections, was trusted by De Lima; and brother Raffy Baraan, who served as Espino’s provincial administrator, took care of all of Espino’s illegal activities and collections. A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class 72, Espino, over the years, was able to build connections and drug and jueteng networks with his fellow PMAers, whom he tapped to protect De Lima and Dayan from their illegal activities in NBP, the sources said. “Most of Espino’s mistahs are now generals in the national police and the armed forces,” the source said. Espino was a full colonel when he first became a congressman, the source added. In turn, De Lima protected Espino from any legal cases that would result from the former governor’s illegal activities. “De Lima is such a liar. The President was correct when he said De Lima is lying through her teeth. She did not file any case against Espino. She sat on it. She protected him. The illegal black sand mining operations case was filed in 2011. All the time that she was DoJ secretary, nothing happened to it until close to the elections, but Espino was spared and it was Raffy Baraan, who was made the sacrificial lamb and was dismissed from the service,” one of the sources, who requested anonymity, told the Manila Standard. De Lima, the source said, also did nothing when there was a plunder complaint filed against Espino, who was tagged as a jueteng lord in Pangasinan. In a 2012 sworn affidavit, a copy of which was furnished the Manila Standard, former Bugallon Mayor Rodrigo Orduna, an alleged bagman of Espino, said Espino started as a protector of jueteng lords when he was congressman for two terms but became a jueteng lord himself when he became a governor for another two terms. Espino, in a news conference, branded the allegation as “old hat” and “politically motivated” because he was at the time running for reelection for governor against Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza of the Liberal Party. Espino at the time was running as an official candidate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the second largest party in the country. Pangasinan was declared a “free zone” in the 2013 midterm polls. The source said former Interior secretary Manuel Roxas II was with Orduna when the latter held a news conference in Camp Crame against Espino. Official records show Orduna said Espino had pocketed a total of P1 billion from jueteng operations alone. Orduna said he delivered jueteng kickbacks amounting to P2.5 million every Saturday when he was congressman. “Mayor Orduna was dropped like a hot potato and was left holding an empty bag by Mar Roxas and Pnoy [President Benigno Aquino III]. Orduna had to uproot from Pangasinan for fear for his life. The protection promised by Mar Roxas never came and the last thing we heard, Espino and Mar Roxas became allies versus the Cojuangcos of the NPC in the 2016 elections,” the source said. “Not contented with the P1 billion that he acquired when he was merely a jueteng protector and congressman, Espino became bolder and greedier when he became governor and started engaging in illegal drugs, became a jueteng lord, operated illegal black sand mining and quarrying operations and all kinds of illegal activities,” the source said. “Yes, I will testify against Espino if asked by President Duterte. Espino has destroyed many lives and families due to his illegal activities,” the source said. In Davao City, Duterte bared a matrix containing seven names of drug operators in the NBP that were allegedly jointly operated by De Lima and Dayan. Duterte gave out copies of the matrix to the members of the media, early Thursday and did not give any statement related to the matrix.