• Espinosa’s death in jail a blow to Duterte’s credibility and capability

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    RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

    RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

    The killing the other day of Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa, who was willing to pinpoint powerful personalities who had protected the illegal-drug trade in the last administration, is a major blow to both President Duterte’s credibility and his capability to fight the criminal syndicates.

    Espinosa was killed by agents of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Eastern Visayas right inside the PNP’s sub-provincial jail. He was allegedly resisting a search warrant the CIDG wanted to serve — at 4:00 in the morning.

    I bet the police would be claiming there were only a few of their men available at that time – the wee hours of the morning. The CIDG claimed that Espinosa refused the search and fought the police so they had no choice but to shoot him dead.

    Espinosa was behind bars, and he shot it out with police, maybe with his table or bed mattress as his shield?

    The police are taking us for fools. They have become arrogantly mad that because of their boss President Duterte’s popularity, and hundreds of recent incidents of suspects getting killed purportedly because they grabbed their police captors’ guns, that we’d believe them and there wouldn’t be outrage against their nefarious deed.

    Espinosa’s alleged affidavit posted on several Facebook accounts.

    Espinosa’s alleged affidavit posted on several Facebook accounts.

    Well, Senator Panfilo Lacson, who has been very supportive of Duterte, and a police officer all his working life, knowledgeable about these kinds of killings, was quick to condemn it, saying it was a “clear case of extrajudicial killing.”

    Why on earth did another inmate, Raul Yap, who had no connection at all to Espinosa, all of sudden decide to fight the CIDG agents too, and therefore, got shot to death, too?

    “Obviously to silence a witness,” Lacson very logically argued. And as the police always claims after every deadly shoot-out with hundreds of illegal-drug suspects in the past few months, they found where Espinosa lay a .38 pistol with live ammunition, and of course, the ubiquitous sachet of shabu.

    C’mon guys, this didn’t’ happen in some dark alley or slum, but in sub-provincial jail, for chrissake! Couldn’t they have waited until Espinosa, perhaps, ran out of bullets, or got too sleepy or hungry for breakfast and just surrendered?

    Espinosa was the first drug lord Duterte named when he launched his war against illegal drugs. Duterte in August even announced that he gave Espinosa 24 hours to surrender. His home was later raided, and six of his bodyguards were killed in August.

    PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa himself dealt with Espinosa, even having him as his “guest” at his official residence called the White House in August, apparently to convince him that he would be given full protection if he revealed his entire drug network. Espinosa, however, for two months was adamant to admit his involvement, claiming that it was his son Kerwin who dealt with illegal drugs.

    De la Rosa later announced that Espinosa had spilled the beans on Kerwin, and that he had submitted a list of his son’s protectors and those of the illegal-drug syndicates. Because of his refusal to admit to his own involvement in illegal drugs, however, he was arrested only on October 5 for illegal possession of dangerous drugs and firearms, and jailed in the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City.

    PNP officials in September told media that Espinosa had submitted a notebook that contained a list of his son’s protectors. While this had not been made public, media questions directed at Espinosa on one occasion on whether the list contained the name of a former justice secretary and now a senator elicited nods from him. It was an obvious reference to Senator Leila de Lima, although some would argue that it could also apply to Senator Franklin Drilon, who had been for three years President Ramos’ justice secretary.

    Yesterday, after the morning papers all had Espinosa’s killing as their banner-headlines, a photo of the first page of Espinosa’s alleged affidavit was posted on several Facebook accounts, among them by a pro-Duterte dutertenews.com. This had a list of people his alleged affidavit claimed were his son Kerwin’s protectors. Neither the PNP nor the Department of Justice, which had its “received” stamp on the alleged affidavit, has confirmed the authenticity of the affidavit.

    First on the list was Senator Leila de Lima — who was shown in subsequent Facebook posts posing with Kerwin and his wife in Baguio City several years back. Included in the list were several police and Army generals, three local government leaders including a governor, and even three media men, including one from the Philippine Star.

    The intention of the Facebook posts is obviously to claim that if not de Lima, one or a group of those Espinosa included in his “protectors” list was responsible for his murder.

    This episode, though, leads to two contrasting conclusions, important to Duterte’s presidency.

    First, Duterte and his main operator, PNP chief de la Rosa, are incapable of protecting a whistleblower, one of whom they convinced to serve as such after much effort, and only over the dead bodies of his six bodyguard.

    How can they now convince others to come out and reveal what they know if the authorities could not even protect their prized whistleblower, Espinosa?

    Espinosa’s killing could be interpreted as a slap especially on de la Rosa’s face, as it was undertaken when he was in Las Vegas to watch Manny Pacquiao’s boxing championship fight. But then, it’s been an old trick for devious criminals to claim they were out of the country when an evil deed was done.

    A second explanation is that, it was Duterte’s own camp that liquidated Espinosa, after he refused to sign the affidavit he had allegedly made, pinning down de Lima and others to the illegal drug trade.

    Whichever explanation is correct, Duterte has to come clean, and prove that he has the credibility and capability to lead the nation in its war against illegal drugs. It would be pure hubris for him to think that because of his enormous popularity, this shame on our police force and our justice system will just be forgotten after different headlines appeared they way they did.

    Who does he think he is?

    A worried Espinosa with PNP chief de la Rosa.

    A worried Espinosa with PNP chief de la Rosa.

    PNP chief dela Rosa, who, in effect, had put Espinosa under his protective wing, soured Manny Pacquiao’s sweet victory yesterday by appearing with an ear-to-ear smile behind the boxer senator right on the ring after his victory — as if nothing of importance under his responsibility had occurred in Manila.

    He should have rushed home right after he was informed of Espinosa’s murder, even if only to send the message he would get to the bottom of it.

    After a few months being in the limelight, does de la Rosa think he’s now a celebrity or is as rich as political barons Chavit Singson or Rodolfo Farinas that he could burn money to watch Pacquiao’s prize fight in Las Vegas? With his salary and savings as a very honest police official, could he have afforded the plane fare, the Las Vegas hotel, and the ringside tickets for the fight? If not, who or what group paid for it? I hope he didn’t spend the PNP’s unaudited intelligence fund.

    I don’t remember any police official, or any Cabinet member, ever appearing with Pacquiao in his fights. They knew that unlike politicians, who became rich partly through their posts, they’d be validly called to task how they could afford to be there.

    It’s gone to his head. Bato thinks he is as popular as Duterte, and can do whatever he wants to do. For the head of our police force, that’s dangerous.

    Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
    Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
    Twitter: @bobitiglao

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    49 Comments

    1. Poor Filipinos. They are the ones being killed instead of the Chinese drug lords like Peter Lim (the kumpare of Duterte). Why did Duterte let Peter Lim go or escape to China? How about the NPA drug lords? Don’t you guys see the selective justice of Duterte and Bato’s fight against drugs. They are only after the very poor Filipinos but not the rich, celebrities and Chinese drug lords. What happened to the Chinese drug lords that they raided in Magalang Pampanga. Duterte and Bato let go again these damn Chinese but not the Filipinos. Fellow Filipinos, let us all rise and and wage war against the administration of Duterte and Bato. Let us all charge Duterte and Bato before the International Criminal Court. Kerwin should resort to this.
      For Kerwin Espinosa, apply for asylum and don’t trust Duterte and Bato. Take your time and come soon to avenge your father against Duterte and Bato
      And yes, how can Bato afford to go to the U.S. and watch ringside the Pacquiao fight. Majority of Filipinos working in the U.S. cannot even afford to watch the fight ringside except chip in to pay the pay-per-view. Akala yata ni Bato at sikat na siya at mayaman. Hindi nag-umpisa na siyang mangurakot. When Bato will be charge in court, he will fly to the U.S. and hid over there.
      Now enough is enough for these shenanigans of Duterte, his cabinet members especially Yasay who failed miserably to practice law in the U.S., cabinet members and his allies.

    2. Oh, you forgot the obvious RT.

      Jaybee Sebastian. Who did Jaybee blamed for the attempt on his life in Bilibid?

      Answer: Leila De Lima and her gang e.g. retired Gen. Loot, Garbo etc..

      There’s your lead.

    3. Sir with all due respect on your column and your readers. Is this how is like in our country today “if you loudly claimed in front of media, senators etc. That you killed people not one but many like manong matobato and no harm befall upon you. But if you are a drug suspect user or pusher, or may be just may be your first name was sounds alike you will not last a day. Hayyyyyyy!!!! Naku, naku ito n b ang mga product Ng school institutions ntin.

    4. rub out? looks like it, but who knows? well not yet anyways,my problem with your columns my dear sir tiglao, mukhang kondenado na sila bato and du30, kaso pare parehong lang po tayo nanonood ng balita sa tv or news media, sila lang mga police na sangkot sa pag patay yun ang dapat kondenahin, monday morning quarterback ata ang tawag dyan

    5. THANKS MR.TIGLAO you are just among the few who express with facts and consistency. Poor d5 since there was no case filed against her after she was being publicly shamed, here the government again fabricating lies just to pin her down.For me SOONER OR LATER THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT EVENTUALLY

    6. @ RT

      Someone dropped the ball. Yes, we can put the blame on Bato. But, to attribute the killing to President Duterte’s own handiwork is totally false.

      As a Dabawenyo, that is not his signature.

      It’s an embarrassment ‘nalusutan at naisahan sila.’ The rouge elements inside PNP pulled a fast one on Duterte and Bato.

      Sad.

      • These rouge cops were paid by the enemies of the state. They are aware that the highest penalty for them is just dismissal from service.

        They will walk from this brutal murder of Mayor Roland Espinosa. But, the long arm of the DDS will kill them all one of these days.

        That is how it goes.

    7. The Great Defiant on

      it’s simple case of cleaning spree…
      why bother let them shoot each others out…
      let’s get movin…

    8. PNP Chief Bato De la Rosa had no business attending a Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas while a lot of police operations against drug pushers and addicts have been controversially being questioned and suspected of being EJK. Espinosa’s killing while in PNP custody is a great blow on the credibility of the Duterte administration and De la Rosa. The President should come up with a valid explanation as to why and how the killing happened inside PNP’s jail.

    9. Things like this are bound to happen. It is a blow yes it is. But how we recover from this will define this administration.

      • Seriously? How many mistakes does it take for people to admit they are wrong? I understand pride, I really do, and I understand how difficult it is to admit a mistake but a real truly honest individual admits their mistakes at all costs no matter how difficult. If you live with a lie it will eat you up from the inside. That is why their is God allows repentance to exonerate the ignorant. Repent now

    10. Leodegardo Pruna on

      We really hope that Gen. Bato has his foot still on the ground and not in his mouth. He has to do everything to come out with the truth and a convincing truth at that. No alibis no nothing except the truth. For not only will he bring himself to hell but also his President. God bless the Philippines.

    11. very good column at least somebody tells the real story. I agree Pinoys are intelligent and Senator Lacson be brave to expose. Btw I do not support de Lima. I pray that popularity will not get into the heads of our leaders. They still must excute their good plans for the nation without harming innocent people.

    12. This is all about drugs, corruption, bribery etc…like a movie–druglord killed while in custody of the police hmmm–CIDG bolt-cut the entrance lock to force their way inn,,no logic–to kill Espinosa. PNP credibility is at stake..

    13. Pinapatay ni DeLi b0g—at ang kanyang mga ka-kosa—si Espinosa Sr. para hindi makapag-testigo laban sa kanila, gaya nang pinalabas nilang “riot” sa NBP kung saan napatay si Tony Co (pero bigo naman kay Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co at Vicente Sy). Susunod si Kerwin pag balik nya rito sa Pinas.

    14. This one is on Chief Bato de la Rosa! How he left a most valuable suspect and witness at the hands of incompetents is beyond me. This war is not just on drugs anymore! Heads must roll and chief Bato must do the right thing.

    15. Thank you. I am relieved to see there are some sane people still out there able to see through the deception and state the facts. Just the mere fact that the Mayor was in prison and could have been starved out or allowed to deplete his ammunition is a enough for me. There are so many questions on so many levels that this is ridiculous. Why or how did they both get guns? Why are there never any survivors to these massacres? How did they both miss the police when they shot first? Has their blood been tested for Shabu? Why serve a warrant at 4am? There are so many questions to be answered but again, they never will be. If it were not for brave individuals like yourself, sir, the country would already be lost. I appreciate and applaud your efforts.

    16. Our system of governance simply does not work. This is the expected outcome from the same old bantay-salakay government officials, corrupt politicians like cudella, lawyers like beluso, etc. They are all in it together, and more.

      A revolutionary government is needed to remove the obstacles that prevent the admin from eliminating the menace of criminality in this country.

    17. Pigain ang mga pumasok sa kulungan ni Espinosa… Kung nahanap ang mga nagpasabog sa nakaraang insedente sa Davao na walang pinag-kiki-lanlan. Eto pa kaya na kilala and mga pumasok sa kulungan ni Espinosa..Kayang kaya nila itong alamin ang mga nasa likod ng pagpatay na ito.

    18. A no-nonsense, no white-wash, investigation clamors for tiself. How else will the public mind get to rest with reports this and that either from the police or from NBI men? No credibility without objectivity. No acceptance without true justice.

    19. Don’t blame this event to Gen. Bato Dela Rosa, instead the insider use this opportunity for having their Chief is out of the country. And he assigned somebody to act as OIC of PNP as for the moment he is on leave.

    20. hindi ba pwedeng gumamit nang ibang paraan other than gunning down itong mga ito
      ex: potassium cholride .. a strong (overdose ) of valium …
      masyado nang gasgas itong ” nang-agaw nang baril

    21. As it always is, the death of high profile person(s) is a premeditated crime. An act that is hatched from people at the top to protect their interest.

    22. For the millions of Filipinos who desire a drug-free Philippine society, the only recourse now is to start vigilante death squads to put the law into their own hands. What other option is there when the drug menace has infested the higher ranks of the police, the Senate and other agencies of government? Our country has become a narco state, and woe to our children and grandchildren.

    23. The death of Espinosa while in custody shows how far the drug syndicate has reached into government and the police. We have someone telling what he knows and he is silenced. This is just like when we started to eliminate drugs, we did not know how big it really was. Now we know the drug trade involves Senators, Congressmen, government officials, judges, police, actors/actresses, and common folk. The plan to kill Espinosa and actually killing him involved many different people. The motive of the killing is easy: silence him. The question is who was involved in the plan and who was involved in the execution and who was paid off.

      • It is very dangerous to assume this. This would allow the sanctioning of killing top political officials. What if this is what they want you to believe but in fact, as stated here before, he could not or would not point the finger at the officials they wanted him to and it was going to be an embarrassment, so they settled to go with his unsigned affidavit before things fell apart. This is why there needs to be trials and investigations! So the truth comes out and people are not killed for no reason. The killings are getting out of control, as expected.

      • mAAYONG LAKI MAN KAHA NING ADMINISTRASYONA NGANNONG MOINGON MAN MO NGA DRUG LORDS NAGPATAY ATO NGA INYO MAN TONG PRESOHAN UG POLICE NINYO NAGHIMO.BAY DILI ME MGA TANGA SAMA NINYO NGA MOTUO NGA DILI ANG INYONG ADMIN NAGHIMO NIINI.

    24. that’s hitting the nail right on it’s head again, ka bobbi… the name ‘ching’ veloso appears. is he the same vice-chair of congress’ justice committee investigating sen. de lima connection with nbp drug lords?

    25. Could General Bato have been with Pacquiao’s entourage he had spent a million dollars for their ringside seats? Would you look into that matter, Mr. Tiglao, before you insinuate that he had used the ‘PNP’s unaudited intelligence fund?’ Please.

      • IF SOMEONE FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAVE A GRACEFUL HAND TO PROVIDE BATO THE PLANE TICKET, HOTEL ACCOMODATION AND A RINGSIDE SEAT FOR VIP’s, THE QUESTION IS THIS ” DID HE HAS THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE IT? AND IS IT PROHIBITED FROM PUBLIC OFFICIAL TO ACCEPT SOME AMENITIES LIKE THAT? IN CASE HE HAS THE MONEY ON HIS OWN TO PAY FOR IT THE ISSUE IS CLOSE BUT THEN HE MUST SUBMIT A SALN FOR VERIFICATION.

    26. Marshall Laway on

      Sapul na sapul. Thank you, Mr. Tiglao, for finally speaking out against Du30s excesses. Masyado na niya tayong ginagago.

      • DON’T BE JUDGEMENTAL ON THIS. THERE ARE A LOT OF ANGLES TO LOOK ON THIS AND NOT EXCLUSIVELY FROM THE PRESIDENT… MAY I REMIND YOU THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PLAYERS VYING TO BE A TRUE CRUSADER AGAINST EACH OTHER AND DRUG LORDS ARE NO EXCEPTION. THE MAIN QUESTIONABLE THING AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES SORROUNDING THE DEATH OF ESPINOSA IS A BIG QUESTION MARK. LET THE TRUTH COME OUT AND BEFORE THAT DON’T POINT A FINGER TO ANYBODY OR ELSE YOU ARE THE ONE WE WILL BE PONTING AT.

    27. This country is really in a big mess”. Who would bèlieve us ? A person jailed has to be serve a search warrant for what ? He is in jail and not at his home. It is the responsibility of the jail warden to make sure nothing is happening in the jail and not the CIdG. Duterte again will be blamed for this . That is the problem when there is no rule of law. To Pres Duterte, do not protect these killers . You are now the prime suspect.

      • If the police needs a search warrant to enter a prison cell, then the Philippine legal system is all but STUPID. A prisoner in jail DOES NOT HAVE ANY EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY, hence, the authorities CAN ENTER AND SEARCH THE CELL ANYTIME.

        OR….. the police is making FOOLS out of the Filipino people staging this zarsuela for the need of a “search warrant”….. And how could Espinosa have a firearm inside the prison? Don’t they search the inmates? Are the prison guards dumb and stupid?

        Anyone with some common sense can see that this stink to high heavens.

        I can’t wait how Duterte and Bato will spin this mess.

    28. Roberto Saguing on

      This points out to the fact that there are still many rouge policemen and that no President can weed out these criminals within 100 days. To me, although the writer has a point, how President Duterte responds after this is more important. There should be a thorough investigation of this particular incident, and a way to protect those who surrenders in the future.

      As to insinuations against Duterte, I saw no reason for it: Espinosa has already surrendered, has already signed his affidavit, they have already evidences, and he is already cooperating to the point of even squealing on his own son – so why eliminate him? They have already tons of evidences against De Lima, that one more alleged notebook will not matter at this point. It’s just not logical imho.

      As to Bato, let the guy bask in his friends’ moment of glory – maybe Pacquiao, his kababayan, invited him there – as long as he did not use public funds.

    29. if duterte claim to be a clean government then he should question Bato’s finances being able to afford the trip in Las Vegas. Bato is also showing unprofessionalism when he posted with beauty queens contestants recently. this guy is conduct unbecoming an officer and does not act like a uniformed official.he. someone like the NBI should investigate where and how he get the money for his trip to vegas, isnt this part of the called life style check?. or else we just have another crooks in the PNP and government.

    30. Sen Pacquiao foot all the bills for PNP Chief De La Rosa… Mayor was killed intentionally to shut him off so your opinion that Pres Duterte wants him dead is nonsensical—Pres Duterte needs his testimony to pin down those in the payola of drug lords and so many policemen are involved–Pres Duterte wants to clean the corrupt and greedy police guys who are in the drug business–of course, these drug guys need to cover up their tracks–so think well before you analyze–this shows lack of wisdom on your part—be careful on your not so obvious opinion because you will be attacked of lack of depth ness in your reporting–your view doesn`t make sense

      • =The corrupt and greedy police guys who are in the drug business need to cover up their tracks=.
        What proof do you have? Unless the numerous investigations could show attempts to paint the protectors as innocents, your view remains superficial and naive.

    31. This is a blunder in Duterte’s administration…dissapointed even with what has Gen Bato has done or did not do after he heard the news of Espinosa’s death. Their detractors are jumping for joy while a lot of supporters are dismayed… let it be a reminder to them, that we are not blind supporters!

    32. two scenario might be considered here; it was an insider case after maybe the mayor was determined an unreliable witness base of what they got from him or it was done by certain interested group by using a fake warrant court arrest and fake uniformed agent that come from the province of samar. and from leyte where the jail is located..