Morning shootout

Fatality is brother-in-law of Kerwin Espinosa

The brother-in-law of Kerwin Espinosa, a known drug lord from Leyte, was shot and killed in a combined police operation conducted yesterday at 9:50 a.m.

Chief Insp. Ronald Lao, the precinct commander, identified the fatality as Jake  Bolanio dela Cruz a.k.a Leonard Bolanio Dela Cruz  a transient resident in Toril and a native of Sitio Tinago II, Barangay Beholho, Albuera, Leyte.

The combined forces of the Toril Police, Police Regional Office XIII, Regional Intelligence Unit XI and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) XI served the standing warrants of arrest against Dela Cruz for five criminal charges ranging from illegal possession of firearms, illegal drugs and murder.

Chief Insp. Lao said they served the arrest warrants around 9:50 am in Purok 15, Barangay Bato, Upper Piedad, Toril.

But dela Cruz allegedly tried to put up a fight, thus resulting to the exchange of gun fire.

Dela Cruz is facing the following charges: (1) R.A 8294 with criminal case no. B-11-04-40 issued by Judge Clinton Nuevo of RTC, Baybay Leyte; (2) Section 11 of RA 9165 with criminal case no. 16,785 issued by Judge Sisinio Virtudazo of RTC 4 of Tagbilaran city; ( 3) R.A. 10591 and Section 11 of R.A. 9165 with  criminal case no. R-ORM-16-00625-CR and R -ORM-16-00626-CR;  (4) for murder with criminal case no. R-ORM-16-00635 issued by Judge Girlie Yu of RTC Branch 35 in Ormoc city and (5) for murder with criminal case no.  B-17-01-03 issued by Judge Carlos Arguelles of RTC 8 Branch 14 of Baybay, Leyte.

Dela Cruz is considered as a high value target of Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) 8.

The operating team was able to recover an Ingram gun from the slain suspect.

Lao said according to the slain suspect’s live in partner; she has no knowledge on the work of Dela Cruz.

“Based on the information we had receive he was arrested several times but managed to post bail thru the influence of Kerwin ,” he added.

He said Dela Cruz was the brother-in-law of Kerwin Espinosa who married his sister Marie.

He further said that since August or September 2016 Dela Cruz was already residing in the said area adding  that Dela Cruz has many relatives in Barangay Daliao in Toril district.

“We have also a drug watchlist target that we have been monitoring before in the said house but we cannot discount that it was the suspect,” Lao said. “Maybe it was his company, we are bound to develop the case but we have received information that Dela Cruz was there.”

Based on the record of Toril Police, Dela Cruz  is a member of Kerwin Espinosa’s liquidation squad and was involved in a series of killings  in the 4th and 5th district  of Leyte province.

Most of his victims are drug pushers who have a big debt to Kerwin’s drug group.

He is one of the suspects in the assassination of Sr. Insp. Alfred Buca former chief of police of Albuera  and Chief Insp.  Edwin Fernandez, the head of the town’s High Way Patrol.

Last June 2016, he allegedly killed councilor Vicente Habun in Barangay Dona Maria, Albuera. The slain suspect was also alleged to transport illegal drugs from Albuera, Leyte going to Cebu and Bohol.