Back in Manila, will Kerwin Espinosa give away ties with Senator Leila de Lima?

Initial reports said Kerwin would likely speak about his alleged connections with De Lima in the presence of a lawyer.

'They won't quit until they destroy me,' says De Lima after NBI drug charges
Former Justice Secretary and current Senator Leila De Lima gestures during a Senate committe hearing on Justice and Human Rights and hearing on Extra Judicial Killing at Senate headquarters in Pasay city, metro Manila, Philippines Reuters

After Kerwin Espinosa was sent off from Abu Dhabi to Manila to face drug charges, the focus is now on the impact of his return on Philippines politics.

There is expectation that Kerwin, drug suspect and son of ex-mayor shot dead inside prison cell, could roil the murky politics further by revealing alleged ties with Senator Leila de Lima.

Back in Manila after his arrest in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, Kerwin has already confessed to his crimes. He apologized to president Duterte and his country, saying: "I ask forgiveness from President Duterte ... Whatever I have done in the past, I hope he can give me a chance to lead a new life."

Initial reports said Kerwin would likely speak about his alleged connections with De Lima in the presence of a lawyer.

"I will answer that when I'm in the presence of my lawyer," Kerwin said, ABS CBN News said.

When asked about a photograph in which he was seen with Senator De Lima and another woman, the junior Espinosa said: "No comment on that for now. I'll talk about it with the people I've decided to speak to."

In Abu Dhabi, a key Philippine whistleblower who helped the government in the arrest and repatriation of Kerwin said the young drug lord is willing to spill the beans on his collaborators provided the government ensured his safety.

"He (Kerwin) is willing to cooperate. He has already given me names which I cannot divulge, but there are police generals and a key politician. That's why he is so afraid of his life and of his family," Sandra Cam, president of Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, told the Khaleej Times.

When Cam, who runs a cleaning company in the UAE capital, was asked if the key politician was de Lima, she did not confirm, the paper said.

"Maybe she's just guilty ... You know, she's a big liar. Remember back in 2012, I already said that she's having a relationship with her driver/bodyguard who also serves as her bagman," she said.

De Lima, who says the Duterte government is trying to implicate her in the illegal drugs trade, filed a lawsuit against Duterte, seeking protection from the 'vengeful' president.

The senior Espinosa, who was killed inside his prison cell in early November, had said in an affidavit that De Lima was one of the politicians who took money from his son Kerwin.