ESPINOSA FIRED AT POLICE IN 4 A.M. Jail RAID, PNP CLAIMS

Leyte mayor shot dead

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ROLANDO Espinosa became the second town mayor killed amid the government’s bloody anti-drug campaign, shot dead in his jail cell early Saturday — police claimed — after firing at operatives serving a search warrant.

The Interior and Local Government department immediately called for an investigation into the brazen killing, which the Palace described as “unfortunate.”

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Espinosa, mayor of Albuera, Leyte, and another inmate, identified as Raul Yap, were killed in a shootout with police around 4 a.m. Saturday inside the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Barangay Hispungo, Baybay City, Leyte.

PNP spokesman Sr. Supt. Dionardo Carlos said a team of operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) led by Chief Insp. Leo Laraga were out to implement search warrants for illegal drugs and firearms against the two inmates.


HIGH-VALUE TARGET Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa converses with Philippine National Police Chief Ronald de la Rosa after turning himself in to Camp Crame on August 2. President Rodrigo Duterte had accused the slain mayor of involvement in the illegal drug trade. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

HIGH-VALUE TARGET Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa converses with Philippine National Police Chief Ronald de la Rosa after turning himself in to Camp Crame on August 2. President Rodrigo Duterte had accused the slain mayor of involvement in the illegal drug trade. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

The warrants were issued by Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of the Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Basey, Samar.

“He (Espinosa) fired on the raiding team. The raiding team fired back and this led to the mayor’s death,” Laraga told AFP.

Yap, also accused of drug trafficking, was likewise killed after he too fired at the officers, Laraga said.

Carlos said in a statement: “Both Espinosa and Yap succumbed to gunshot wounds as a result of the encounter.”

The Interior department, citing initial reports, said police recovered one caliber Super .38 and a magazine with live ammunition from Espinosa’s cell, and one caliber .45 and a magazine with live ammunition from Yap’s cell.

Police were also said to have found one sachet of “suspected shabu” and drug paraphernalia in the cells of Espinosa and Yap.

Radio station DZMM reported, quoting the Leyte provincial administrator, that closed-circuit television footage of the jail was missing.

Internal probe ordered
As a matter of procedure, the incident will be investigated, he said.

“This incident will undergo investigation to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the said incident,” Carlos said.

The PNP spokesman said the Eastern Visayas Police Office under Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar had formed a panel that will look into the incident.

The Regional Internal Affairs Service of the PNP in Eastern Visayas will also conduct its own investigation.

Carlos pointed out that the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail is administered and managed by the provincial government of Leyte.

Tagged by Duterte
Albuera’s death followed that of Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao, who was killed along with his bodyguards at a checkpoint in North Cotabato on October 28.

In August, President Rodrigo Duterte accused Espinosa and his son Kerwin of drug trafficking and demanded they turn themselves in, giving police a “shoot on sight” order if the two resisted arrest.

Mayor Espinosa then surrendered to the national police chief, saying he feared for his life, and was arrested on October 5 over charges of possessing illegal drugs and weapons.

PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa previously said Espinosa had been listed in official records as a “drug protector,” whose son Kerwin controlled the narcotics trade in the Albuera region.

Kerwin was arrested in the United Arab Emirates last month and is set to return to the Philippines to face drug trafficking charges.

In August, six of the Espinosas’ supporters died in a gunfight with police outside the mayor’s property in Albuera where officers said they recovered guns and several grenades.

‘Unfortunate’
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said he would wait for the results of the probe before issuing commentary.

“Right now it’s really under investigation so wala po tayong actual na komentaryo patungkol diyan [so we cannot give an actual comment on that],” Abella told government-run dzRB radio.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Espinosa’s death was “unfortunate.”

“Investigation is now ongoing but initial reports indicate that the former mayor was killed while being served a search warrant,” Andanar said in a text message to reporters.

Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said that while Espinosa and Yap were high-profile inmates linked to the illegal drug trade, it was necessary for the police to adhere to their operations manual and respect the rights of the suspects, “unless their lives are endangered.”

“It is unfortunate that this operation led to this (death of the inmates), but of course, we also do not want our people (policemen) to be the one lying dead in the course of doing their job,” he said in a statement.

WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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14 Comments

  1. Why did they not install cctv cameras outside, and especially inside the cells of high value inmates who turned themselves in, provided informations to the government, to protect them?
    If this goes on, how can the government expect criminals to surrender, if their safety cannot even be guaranteed? Criminals would rather fight it out if they would end up dead, anyway under government custody.

  2. It is Very Very Clear that De Lima is one of the Master Mind of Killing Espinosa…. siya ang Una sa LISTAHANG ginawa ni Espinosa bago pa man ito pinaslang… wala ng mabigat na SaySay ang Affidavit ni Espinosa laban sa mga high ranking officials particularly si De Lima sapagkat patay na ang witness… Mayor Espinosa is one of the Credible Witnesses ng Duterte Administration to Pindown All High Ranking Officials on illegal Drugs.

  3. the CIDG operatives are obviously lying. Operatives version would not even pass the silliest telenovela. It would have been more credible if the mayor was ambushed on his way to the court or stabbed by a fellow prisoner. No person, even the dumbest one would dare to shoot out with authority specially if he is inside a prison cell. Common sense! you either will run out of ammo or be shot right away since you have no place to cover. Police wants to silence him to escape being implicated.

  4. Very scary. That is the problem of President Duterte, he is advocating in killing drug pushers and now this Espinosa case. Maybe it is the work of the narcotic generals but since the head is Duterte, he will be blamed and responsible. Mayor Espinosa is a bad guy but now, nobody looks at his bad deeds but by his assassination. Everybody loses except the bad guys. Now US, EU UN becomes credible in their case on EJK.

  5. With Duterte’s blessing, members of the police special forces disguise themselves with wigs and masks, operate in tandem on motorbikes, and murder known anti-crime crusaders. After completing their killing mission, they flee under the cover of darkness, only to appear the next day to hold a press conference. These same special forces then claim that drug dealers are behind the killings. The public agree and the killings duly continue ad infinitum, and with total impunity.
    Kindly google: “2 Cops Kill Anticrime Crusader in Mindoro”

    Dear people of the Philippines:

    It is now obvious (at least to the rest of humanity) that you have foolishly elected a psychotic despot for president. A darkness has engulfed your whole nation. You no longer have due process, constitutionally protected rights or fair trials in a public forum. Suspicion or rumor is now all that’s required to terminate the life of any citizen with a state-sanctioned death squad.

    Nowhere on this planet has any nation ever had success with the policy of drug prohibition. Many of your villages, towns and cities will be turned into killing fields. Hundreds of thousands of you may now die. Your most precious institutions and possessions will be destroyed—but the drugs, the corruption and the violence will still be there and the world will finally realize how dangerous and utterly destructive prohibition really is.

    You are actually in the process of destroying your own society and nothing can change your fate. Every one of you is now vulnerable to deadly attack. Right here n the Philippines, drug prohibition has finally reached its inevitable blood-drenched conclusion.

    • @steve byrd ….. several year ago vigilantes were acceptable to fight crime in several crime cities here especially in new york city and there were no human riight issue by the whole world . the.worldwide drug cartel are drowning the.the philippines with illegal drugs to the entire 7,000 more islands country causing their government difficulty in controlling it.. maybe the entire worlld should help them in the rehabilitation aspect of the thousands of addict prisoner that they are not able to afford to give a descent treatment because of short of fund.

  6. Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa turned himself in to Camp Crame on August 2.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Espinosa, mayor of Albuera, Leyte, and another inmate, identified as Raul Yap, were killed in a shootout with police around 4 a.m. Saturday inside the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail.

    People are supposed to believe that story ? Seriously ?

    Are there are any working camera’s in that jail ?

    Police officers are walking thru the jail with their weapons ?
    Any real jail would not allow officers serving warrants to take their guns into secure areas with inmates but then this is the Philippines we are talking about.

    Are the cells not locked at 4am ?

    The security violations by the people running the jail and the officers serving the warrant are staggering.
    In real jails, The police would arrive in the intake booking area and request that the inmate be brought to them.

    Either there is no security and or policies in place in this jail or everyone should be arrested including the people in charge of the jail.

    Have to keep a open mind but not so open you’re brains fall out.

    Business as usual in the new Philippines.

    • Radio station DZMM reported, quoting the Leyte provincial administrator, that closed-circuit television footage of the jail was missing.

  7. if the cctv footage is missing then it does look like a EJK. NBI should be the one investigating the police on this. NBI should now take custody of Erwin Espinosa if they want him safe. Erwin can still provide valuable investigation on who in the higher ups, suppliers, connections in the drug trade. so he is still very valuable and might be next to die if the NBI will not act now and take him into custody to a safer detention maybe inside camp crame.

  8. It is as simple and plain as the fact that the sun shines in the morning – no matter how the police and government institutions, media spinners, pretend otherwise.

    The thing is to find the masterminds. And it is not impossible that it might setting in the senate, congress, some government institutions possibly with help from the well known international and local criminal orgs, or even sponsored by some states, and the colored people, for a more sinister plot.

    It is very important, so it is not to be trusted to any of the above government institutions ( police, milirary, senate, congress, DILG, CHR)- whose intents are only to grandstand, whitewash, protect their asses, extort – then spend a lot of people’s money to produce a report. But can the government hang a report?

    Why not fight fire with fire. The keys – the policemen themselves are there and known. So it not impossible to extract the needed information from them by ” other methods” from expert third parties – not by any government agency. These killers have families and friends and close confidants, they are keys also. Covert actions, intelligence gathering, third degrees methods might work.

    This pervasive evil is precisely the reason why the president was elected. Turn this setback into a motivation show how can a truly responsible administration can stand up and fight crime seriously,
    doggedly determined at all cost, for the sake of the country, and show that plain and simple righteousness, “but not the supreme court’s version”, can prevail.

  9. why serve a warrant if the person is already in police custody?in jail? at that time of day? why police allowed to have drugs in the cell? guns in the cell? the mayor fear for his life that was why he surrendered. He will not do the action they said he did fired first because he knew it is suicide. this means there is truth in his affidavit and a way to scare the son not to spill the beans.