Suspected Filipino drug lord returns after Abu Dhabi arrest

Manila, Nov 18 (IANS) A suspected drug lord arrived in the Philippines on Friday morning being arrested in Abu Dhabi in October following months in hiding.

The flight carrying Rolando ‘Kerwin’ Espinosa Jr. landed at Manila International Airport around 4 a.m., with Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa personally taking the suspect from the plane, Efe news reported.

Espinosa fled the country in June, reportedly travelling to Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong before eventually being arrested in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The suspect was in handcuffs and dressed in an orange t-shirt and bulletproof vest as he was escorted from the plane and presented to the media.

“I am now afraid of the police as they secured me during my trip from Dubai to Manila. I will cooperate and tell all names who are connected with drugs,” Espinosa said in a press conference.

He is accused of being a top drug lord in the Eastern Visayas region, and he and his father were named by President Rodrigo Duterte after a police operation reportedly saw 11 million Philippine pesos (around $221,000) of shabu, or methamphetamine, confiscated from a tennis court at their home.

Espinosa’s father Rolando, a former mayor of Albuera town, was arrested in October. Just one month later, on November 5, he was killed in jail in an alleged shootout with officers.