PNP Chief picks up Kerwin Espinosa at NAIA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Two weeks after his father was shot dead inside a provincial jail, suspected big time drug lord Kerwin Espinosa is back in the country.

Espinosa, accompanied by police officers who picked him up from Abu Dhabi, touched down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 at 3:46 a.m. Friday.

Related: Alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa arrested in Abu Dhabi, PNP Chief says

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa himself personally went to NAIA to secure Espinosa.

He had repeatedly assured Espinosa that his safety will be ensured — following the death of Espinosa's father, Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa, in an alleged shootout inside the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail.

Related: Albuera Mayor Espinosa killed in jail cell shootout - CIDG


A heavily armed police convoy escorted Espinosa straight to Camp Crame. He will be detained at the PNP Custodial Center, which houses other high-profile detainees like Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.

Espinosa's safety 'guaranteed'

Depending on his condition, investigators may also get Espinosa's sworn affidavit on Friday. The PNP considers Espinosa's statement to be key in identifying other high-profile drug lords and coddlers.


Dela Rosa said on Monday the Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the PNP to let them "safekeep" Kerwin, but the PNP top brass said they will still discuss the matter.

Dela Rosa "guaranteed" the public that Kerwin "will not die".

"Hindi mamamatay 'yun. Sigurado, hindi 'yun mamamatay... Guaranteed 'yan. Paninindigan ko 'yang aking sinasabi walang mangyayari sa kanya. Safe siya dito," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: He will not die. For sure, he will not die. That's guaranteed. I will prove true to my word that nothing will happen to him. He's safe here.]

PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos also vouched for Espinosa's safety.

"'Yung security po, mataas diyan sa custodial center. 'Yung kanila pong protocol and regulations sa security, ipapatupad po diyan," he said on Thursday.

[Translation: Security is tight in the custodial center. Their protocol and security regulations will be implemented.]

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please refresh the page for updates.