Espinosa murder: Drug lords challenge the President


There is no room for doubt about this blatant injury to our Republic.

The killing last Saturday of Mayor Rolando Espinosa inside his jail cell at the Baybay, Leyte provincial jail, is another blow to the rule of law in our country.

The murder of Espinosa, who was about—or was expected — to tell all about the drug lords is nothing less than their challenge to President Duterte and his war on drugs.

The drug lords are also thumbing their noses at the Philippine National Police or, worse, posing a mailed-fist challenge to the integrity and credibility of the PNP.

When Mayor Espinosa saw his name in DU30’s first list of drug suspects, drug lords, drug pushers and drug coddlers, he rushed to Manila to surrender personally to PNP director- general Ronald de la Rosa, on the grounds that he feared for his life. He figured that he would be more safe in the custody of our police, than being at liberty and out on his own.

But safe he was not, it has turned out. Jail did not prove to be a sanctuary. It was at the hands of the police that he met his death.

The official explanation that he tried to shoot it out with lawmen from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who were serving him a search warrant, is so unbelievable, it’s farcical.

The PNP’s version of events makes no sense. Espinosa’s death has all the marks of an execution — an extra-judicial killing.

It gets worse, because this incident now puts under grave doubt all the past police operations where drug suspects were killed under similarly suspicious circumstances.

It lends credence to the fears of national and international groups, including the United Nations, that the drug war has gone out of whack and state authorities may not be in full control of the situation.

For Malacañang to say that Espinosa’s death is unfortunate and that an investigation is under way is not enough.

Something more is urgently needed.

President Duterte himself should take the lead in clearing up this mess.

He should direct the Secretary of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation and all our law enforcement agencies to devote all their efforts to the service of bringing out the facts and the truth about this incident.

We do not subscribe to the view, as propounded by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, that such an investigation can best be carried out by a Senate committee inquiry. We understand why he does not trust the PNP to do an honest and thorough job of finding out the truth about this murder. He himself explained that while he loves the PNP, which is his original home as a public servant, he does not expect it to under the circumstances to do the absolutely right thing in this case.

But the Senate is not the right vehicle for such an investigation. We need rather the service of people who have made crime investigation, crime detection and crime solution their life’s work and their career, men and women who are in fact already in government service, working in agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Justice.

We think the PNP should investigate—but only after its topmost officials have made a solemn vow to make sure the case will be handled with the utmost honesty, rigor and devotion to the truth.

This is work for professional investigators, not politicians. But we believe the press, including TV cameras, should look over the shoulders of the investigators while they do their thing.

That will inexorably lead to the strengthening of our criminal justice system, which has often been led from the straight way when investigators were allowed to work in the dark.


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  1. Why is it that we don’t hear a peep about Espinosa’s killing from Duterte and Gen. Bato? Not even an immediate assignment to desk jobs for all those CIDG personnel involved….

    Incidents like this require swift action from Duterte and Gen. Bato YET they are totally silent. This would have people thinking that Duterte, Gen. Bato and the PNP hierarchy are conniving to cook an cover up.

  2. Thank you for the right editorial at the right time! Let us hope Malacanyang includes it as part input in the brain storming of the death of Mayor Espinosa. It is not an EJK for certain it is not state policy, but a hit with the audacity to dare the good men to respond adequately with speed.

  3. Easy to say all the leg work you talk about was it is leg or the leg of the others. Kc nga how can this ashole discipline the nation to think his own damn mouth is a loose cannon.

  4. On the word spoken my spokesperson abella does he mean the malacanang is blind eye on the issue behind the killing of Espinosa??

    If those are their words people of the Philippines has already been warned, we as a people had been threatened face to face that we the people are all expendable from here forth under this regime. If that is so. So be it…

  5. When is the Duterte administration going to start arresting people who drink alcohol ?

    Arrest the alcohol pushers and users and if they resist shoot them just like the other drug users.

    Alcohol does the most damage to health, drug dependency, economic costs and crime.

    Could it be that the politicians exempt their drug of choice from the law because they like to drink.

    Stop being a nation of hypocrites Dutertards, Get rid of the real drug abusers the users of alcohol.

    Oh wait, those drug dealers and users are part of your families.

    Too bad

    They are drug pushers and users just like the shabu dealers and users

  6. Let an honest to goodness investigation be done. The DILG Secretary & the Chief PNP should take the lead & be vigilant for any manipulation in the results of the investigation. Let the responsible heads roll if need be & let them ROT in jail for this scandalous act they made. The SCRIPT was not well planned , it is so amateurish for who ever planned this raid.
    Nasobrahan na ang pag implement niyo ng drug war ng Pres. Nakakahiya na tayo sa ibang bansa. Let JUSTICE prevail to the victims even they are drug suspects.

  7. I’d be wary of PNP Chief de la Rosa. Money is very tempting and corrupting especially if it’s in the billions.

  8. vic penetrante on

    We have a narco-government working in the national government. That is what President Duterte is afraid of – the extent of profitable drug business.

  9. May the president detained all the CIDG personnel and other officials who done the operation then interrogate them one by one. Its so alarming that there still ninja cops and politician moving under the Duterte Admin.

  10. armando flores on

    The present government is a criminal organization. How can one expect good governance in the hands of murderers who ignore the rule of law and the right sense of justice? Killing to sow fear among the people is the way of a despot.

    • Just because you listen to DeLima’s BS doesnt mean she’s right. Let the police do their work.

    • Your statement is hypothetical and an insinuation that you do not really know the game of drug syndicates. Doing a crime and blaming the present administration of the said killing just like of Espinosa. Common sense…do you have one? anyway, common sense is not so common. Who will benefit the death of a witness? That is the right and correct argument.

    • Armando Flores: And what do you think of the administration who allowed the deug trade to proliferate, Saints? Who ignored the rule of law blatantly, even the Constitution? Wasn’t it Pnoy and his cohorts? I think your opinion is blinded by your alliance and you are not being objective. Would the drug menaced have been uncovered during Pnoy’s time? No because they were probably part of it.

    • “Dictators must have enemies. They must have internal enemies to justify their secret police and external enemies to justify their military forces.”
      Richard Perle

  11. jose b. taganahan on

    If the Duterte administration is not complicit on the murder of the late Mayor Rolando Espinosa then the President should order the immediate arrest and confinement of those murderers until these murderers spill the beans as to who ordered them to murder the late Mayor. It is an insult to the President and to the PNP Chief that a potential witness against drug lords and drug protectors was killed by the Police inside a government prison cell.

  12. Sadly, it is becoming evident just how widespread and how powerful the drug lords are. I wouldn’t call this an extrajudicial killing (which suggests state sponsorship – based on how the words are used these days). It’s most likely a simple rubout – the drug lords assassinating a potential leak in their organization. How far up into the ranks of government and society has this sickness risen? Have the drug lords become so powerful that they can buy anyone and order such heinous crimes with impunity?

    • It happened in Mexico. There was a time that Mexicos president disarmed all police in one area because all police in that area are employees of the drug cartel. You can now see CIDG working for the drug lords. They will sacrifice their pension for monies provided by the corrupt generals and drug lords. Duterte is going to lose here at the end of the day because of corrupt police and generals. Pilipinos will believe it is all Dutertes wonder a colonel owns 10 condominiums, a Nissan Patrol and a multi million peso house with a monthly salary of 45K. Before I wonder where the monies came from. Now I know.

  13. We understand why he does not trust the PNP to do an honest and thorough job of finding out the truth about this murder.

    If that is the case then fire some people and charge others until you have a PNP that is clean.

  14. But how? who has credibility and competence?

    What is needed is fast, iron fisted action – for starter preventive suspension, detention, relentless and thorough investigation of all personnel, even those remotely involved, because they hold the missing links and keys.

    Create an independent third party (get outside experts with proper resources) to handle all the physical investigation, leg work, data gathering and analysis, the subject of which are all the government agencies who are even remotely involved.

    Don’t allow any government agency, politicians, all with “agenda” to touch or muddle the investigation. Declare a state of emergency to facilitate unlimited intel gathering and efficient investigation, remove interference and obstructions. Move fast while the serpent’s heads are exposed.

    • It wont work, because everybody has an agenda. What will be provided instead is the political will to choose the best, the most dedicated and the most well meaning orphans and give them carte blank rights to weed out the most corrupted people among us based on what our definition of corrupt is.

      That isnt going to happen, because we will be doing nothing short of creating royalty from orphans. And since absolute power corrupts absolutely, those orphans will be seen as tyrants.

      Best we can do for now is trust in DU30 that he will continue to do right by us as he has in the last 6 months.