THE Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the investigation of the judge who issued a search warrant served on Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in his cell at the Baybay City provincial jail.
said the order wsa issued during the court’s regular en banc session Tuesday.
The judge was identified as Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of the Regional Trial Court branch 30 in Basey, Samar.
“The Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into the circumstances relative to the purported issuance of the search warrant directed to the CIDG that led to the death in custody of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa,” Te said in a news conference.
The police had claimed that Espinosa was killed because he tried to shoot it out with the law enforcers who served the search warrant.
Another inmate, Raul Yap, was also killed.
The incident triggered a public outcry as government officials and private citizens questioned why a warrant had to be served at 4 a.m. to search Espinosa’s jail cell. The police and other government agencies had initiated their own investigations into the incident.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Tuesday called for the creation of an independent commission to look into the “questionable” killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, abn opposition leader, said the proposed commission will be composed of retired justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
“I don’t think the task of investigating should be discharged by a congressional committee or a Senate committee because the independence and impartiality of the members would be compromised and even [imputed with]political accommodation and partisan agendas,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has to approve the creation of the commission in order to show his respect for the judicial process and rule of law, and ensure the commission’s independence, according to Lagman.
“No less than the President in many statements had encouraged the use of violence to put an end to criminality,” he said.
“The growing culture of violence and killings which is condoned if not encouraged by government authorities has emboldened the police to violate the right to life with impunity and the worst violence is the one committed by the state or agency who are supposed to protect the citizens—and I think everybody should put in their collective voices to stop this campaign of violence and killings and go back to the rule of law and the protection of human rights,” Lagman said.
Another member of the opposition, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, agreed with Lagman’s call for a commission to investigate the Espinosa killing.
“These are not mere statistics that we can just put aside because if we do not express distress or horror at what is happening, the effect would be as if nothing happened,” Villarin said.
Samar Rep. Raul Daza and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, meanwhile, questioned the legality of serving the search warrant on the imprisoned Espinosa.
“It is very odd that the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group), in order to gain entry [inside the cell], used a search warrant,” Daza said, while Baguilat said the Philippine National Police has some explaining to do on this matter.
“This is not to indict the entire PNP but to find out if there is a cover-up of Espinosa’s supposed links to other top officials,” the Ifugao lawmaker said.
“Also, it is really poor jail management if an inmate can get hold of a gun while incarcerated,” Baguilat added.