• Questions raised as Senate, NBI set probes into jail killing


    A number of questions emerged on Saturday’s brazen killing of Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa inside his jail cell, with the Senate, the Department of Justice and the Leyte provincial government all eyeing separate investigations.

    Malacañang said it was “puzzled” with Espinosa’s killing and described it as a huge blow to the anti-drug campaign, considering the late local executive had served as a government asset against illegal drug dealers.

    According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Espinosa fought back at operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) that were serving him a search warrant, at 4 a.m. on Saturday, for illegal possession of firearms inside his cell at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City.

    An inmate in a separate cell, Raul Yap, was also killed after fighting it out, the PNP claimed.

    “I am puzzled because we all know Mayor Espinosa is a big help in the government’s war against drugs. Mayor Espinosa is an asset to the government’s investigation on who’s who in the upper echelon of drug rings,” Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a radio interview.

    SILENCED? Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa is seen with gunshots on his torso, lying on his back at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City.

    SILENCED? Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa is seen with gunshots on his torso, lying on his back at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City.

    After being linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to illegal drugs, Espinosa surrendered to no less than PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa in August. Duterte had issued an ultimatum on the mayor and his son Kerwin to surrender within 24 hours or be killed.

    The Espinosas were ordered arrested after authorities nabbed at least P88 million worth of shabu and 13 high-powered firearms and explosives at the Espinosa residence in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Binulho, Albuera town last August.

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

    Andanar said he did not agree with Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s observation that Espinosa was likely a victim of extrajudicial killing.

    “In the end, it will be the investigation of the Philippine National Police that we will look into and we will depend our comments on,” Andanar said.

    The PNP said on Saturday its Internal Affairs Service would conduct a probe into the jail killing. The Eastern Visayas Police Office under Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar has also formed a panel to look into the incident.

    ‘No drugs, firearms’
    The Leyte provincial government is pushing for a separate investigation on the shooting of Espinosa.

    Provincial administrator Edgardo Cordeño said the local government, which supervises the detention facility, found out in an inspection last week that there were no illegal drugs and firearms kept by inmates.

    This was contrary to the report of the CIDG that illegal drugs and firearms were found inside the prison facility.

    “We had an inspection at the jail a week ago and did not discover any illegal contraband inside,” Cordeño told reporters.

    The official wondered why the CIDG raided the facility without informing them first. The team entered the jail 4:00 a.m. or seven hours before the provincial government received the copy of search warrant.

    The closed circuit television’s digital video recorder got lost after the incident. What was left was the monitor.

    Espinosa and Yap were killed when they reportedly “fired upon the raiding team” led by Chief Insp. Leo Laraga of the CIDG.

    Judge Tarcelo A. Sabarre, Jr., presiding of Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Basey, Samar issued the search warrant, believing that the two detainees kept firearms and illegal drugs at their cells.

    A police report stated that the raiding team recovered a sachet of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia from Espinosa.

    The team also found 15 sachets of suspected shabu, 27 sachets of suspected dried marijuana, repacking items, and drug paraphernalia from Yap.

    The sub-provincial jail has eight cells with a capacity of 15 inmates each. The facility has only 44 prisoners.

    Espinosa occupied Cell No. 1 alone while Yap and other inmates stayed in a separate cell.

    Senate, NBI inquiries
    Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday said he wanted a separate investigation into the killing of Espinosa and Yap instead of reopening the recently concluded Senate justice committee inquiry on the spate of drug related killings in the country.

    Gordon, who heads the Senate justice and human rights committee, said he would file a resolution calling for a Senate investigation into the supposed shootout.

    Also on Sunday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a parallel probe to “avoid a possible whitewash.”

    “Our objective, as in all our probes, is to get to the truth. Ultimately, if persons are liable under our laws, they can be held accountable. We all want the truth, no matter how elusive or inconvenient it may be,” Aguirre said.


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    1. The execution is proof of 2 facts: 1.The Philippines is a de-facto narco state. 2.The corruption associated with the narco state is in the CIDG. Only corruption can explain 4am search warrants in a jail, and execution of the prisoner-witness in the adjoining cell. Aguirre’s comments are consistent with narco-state: no one in the Phil really expects identification of the persons who ordered the hit, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of anyone in less than 5 years. No Filipino would have believed 10 years ago that corruption would lead to the Phil turning into a narco state. To this day majority of us do not truly understand that natural flow of money=power=corruption.

    2. If the operation of the CIDG is legit, then why did they remove the hard disk from the CCTV recorder?

      This alone gives away the clear motive of the CIDG operatives.

    3. The closed circuit television’s digital video recorder got lost after the incident.

      Gee wonder how that happened, the prison officials who let the officers in with their weapons need to be arrested as well as the officers who executed Espinosa and Yap.

      Not expecting any justice from the NBI or the senate, It will be just another cover up and whitewash same as always.

      The digital video recorder went missing after the incident, seriously ? what more proof does anyone need to charge these people ?

    4. Please somebody explain why is there the need to have a search warrant to inspect jail facilities or cells when these areas are in total control of the jail’s authorities.


      How could be any inmate have a possession any weapons while in custody???? Are they not searched for contraband before incarcerated????

      Please, Gen. Bato, disprove that the PNP is NOT INEPT AND STUPID.

      • Everyone connected with the jail and the PNP are inept and incompetent, seems the only thing they are any good at is shooting people.

        Witness protection program.

        Is that some kind of joke ?