Mayor Espinosa haunts the nation from the grave



First read
Alive, Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, seemed like he was just one of the over three thousand municipal mayors in the Philippine local government system. In reality, he was probably one of the LGU executives who are implicated as coddlers of the illegal drug trade, and he had the added distinction of having a son in the frontline of the drug trade, Kerwin Espinosa.

Dead, Mayor Espinosa is a corpse that threatens to rival in prominence and impact on events the corpse of former President Ferdinand Marcos, who was recently buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), the nation’s cemetery for soldiers and the Republic’s presidents, and whose burial has sent the country into fits.

In the seemingly harmless state of being interred six feet underground, the late mayor Espinosa is currently shaking the foundations of the country’s criminal justice system. He could discredit the Philippine National Police, from its top officers to the rank and file. And he may shake up as well the presidency of the republic, if the festering controversy and scandal over his murder inside a provincial jail is not solved satisfactorily and the perpetrators are not brought to justice.

How Espinosa haunts our public life

From the grave, Espinosa haunts our public life, because like the murdered monarchs in the tragedies of Hamlet and Macbeth, his murder cries out for justice and resolution.

I will pass on quoting Macbeth, because it would be awfully pretentious, but recalling Shakespearean tragedy is not misplaced here because of the gripping lesson it teaches on how the victims of “murders most foul” cry out for retribution and how they will not stint to haunt the world of the living, until their deaths find closure or surcease.

Mayor Espinosa is haunting our public life in very clear and explicit ways, as follows:

1. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), in its investigation of Espinosa’s death, has fully concluded that the mayor was a victim of a “rubout,” not a shootout – which means, in short, that it was a premeditated murder.

The perpetrators of the murder were the members of the raiding team from the PC Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PCIDG) in East Visayas.

2. Because of Espinosa’s killing, PNP Director-General Roland de la Rosa has ordered the relief of PCIG- region 8 superintendent Marvin Marcos and all members of the raiding team.

3. President Duterte intervened and ordered directly the PNP chief to reinstate Marcos in his post.
The president even went further by declaring that he believes the story of the police raiding team that Espinosa was killed for engaging the police in a gun battle, instead of the findings of NBI and Senate investigators.
Further, DU30 declared that he as president would not allow the policemen to be jailed.

DU30’s trusted aide Bong Go has become collateral damage in the President’s admissions, because it was through him that the order for Marcos’s reinstatement was relayed to De la Rosa.

4. In an act of mourning for his father, Kerwin Espinosa decided to tell all at the House justice committee hearings on the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid state penitentiary, and on alleged payoffs to Sen. Leila de lima through her driver/lover Ronnie Dayan. He declared that he wanted justice for his father, because killing his father is even more hurtful to him than killing his wife, because his father is irreplaceable while his wife can be replaced. (I dread to speculate on how his wife must have felt after hearing this).

In his testimony, Kerwin also disclosed that he made regular drug payoffs to Marvin Marcos, who helped his drug operation avoid PNP checkpoints. Marcos denied this.

Impeachment threat and justice obstruction

Because of President Duterte’s declaration that the CIDG team were acting under his orders and that he would not allow the policemen to be jailed, and because of his intervention for the reinstatement of Superintendent Marcos, Senators De Lima and Antonio Trillanes have threatened to file impeachment charges against the President, who quickly dared them to go ahead, bring it on.

But it is not as laughable as he thinks. The weight of this impeachment threat inheres in the fact that DU30 has moved brusquely to obstruct justice in the Espinosa killing. His blanket promise of protection to would-be police killers is patently unlawful.

It is certain to play badly in the international media and before the international community, lending credence to their earlier judgment of the drug war and extrajudicial killings.

Richard Nixon’s attempts to cover up the White House role in the Watergate break-in, for which he was almost certain to be successfully impeached by the US Congress, looks like child’s play compared to these unlawful actions of our President.

All the complications and intrigues that have followed the murder of mayor Espinosa read like a script from a bad movie. The story will not hang together.

The hand of puppeteers can be seen.

Unfortunately, it is the hand of DU 30 that can be most readily seen by the public and the media. No one is suffering more damage in this scandal than the President and his drug war.

Every time he talks about the incident, he betrays himself as an authoritarian, who does not really believe in the rule of law and due process.

Most of the media cannot believe his pronouncements on Espinosa’s murder and his blanket exoneration of the CDIG team.

Even SWS and Pulse Asia cannot twist this situation into a positive pretzel for the President.|

Espinosa from his grave must be smiling at all the craziness that is happening.


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  1. Maribel A. Calanda on

    Marcos was reinstated before the Espinosa killing. Marcos was reinstated on October 2I s6 while Espinosa died on November 5. PDigong did not order the reinstatement after Espinosa died. You better check your facts. You are like De Lima and Trillanes who are too fast to draw a conclusion.

  2. Pardon me, but you are reading too much into this issue. There is no public indignation over this rubout- yes it was a rubout- that is even remotely comparable to the one that followed the Plaza MIranda bombing, Ninoy’s assassination, the Garci tapes, SAF 44 or the non-opening of that envelop in Erap’s Senate trial. Those who are wishing ill of Duterte are all whistling in the wind. But just supposing this impeachment that you are dreaming of gains traction, which means the yellows might regain Malacanang through the clerico-fascist puppet Mrs. Robredo, this will certainly lead to civil war ! Are you guys really ready for one, because Duterte’s supporters are.

  3. Leodegardo Pruna on

    The fact that the President would not interfere once charges against the alleged perpetrators are filed in court is respect for due process. God bless the Phiolippines.

  4. the runaway crime situation in the Philippines is exasperated by bleeding hearts who keep invoking the rights of the criminals but never talking about the rights of the victims …

  5. If this case against the cops who allegedly killed Mayor Espinosa while inside his cell goes on trial, will the judge trying the case give more credence to the findings of NBI that it was murder or Pres. DU30 who shared the cops version of a shootout?

  6. Du30’s fall from his heights has started. As De5 said, his word’s re ordering the raid on (and eventually killing) Mayor Espinosa) confirmed the Prez’s being a murderer (and author of DDS. He’s actually impeaching himself.

  7. Marcos was implicated by kerwin upon kerwin’ arrest. Then Bato ordered him relieved. Then duterte ordered him reinstated.

    Then Espinosa was murdered. Marcos and his entire team placed under restrictive custody. Duterte did not countermand this order.

  8. “Every time he talks about the incident, he betrays himself as an authoritarian, who does not really believe in the rule of law and due process.”

    True. But he revealed himself as an authoritarian long before this incident. Duterte has from the beginning of his regime disregarded the constitution, rule of law and due process. It’s a very short step from there to martial law. Encouraged as he is by Trump’s apparent support for his immoral drug war murders, Duterte must be watching close as Trump plans to fill several cabinet positions with military generals. With a fascist in the making in the US, perhaps Duterte will not be so hasty now in pulling away from the US.

    • Correct, that is the reason why the analysis is misleading. Makabenta has no knowledge at all of real motive of DU30 to reinstate Marcos, while eventually relieved afterwards. The entire story is very shallow in its analysis tantamount to premature judgement in its many aspects. I would say we need to wait for the outcome because the matter is about the intricacies of the law and the Presidents Duterte’s words. I have not found anything Duterte has violated to judge the way Makabenta has indicated. So to believe this article is to put you more trouble in the community. We want to avoid that trouble, so better let us wait for the outcome.