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.