Department of Justice
MANILA—The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday submitted for resolution the charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the policemen involved in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another inmate inside their detention cell in Baybay, Leyte.
The five-man panel headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris P. Alejo conducted a preliminary investigation and decided to submit for resolution multiple murder and perjury raps to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of case against the 24 respondents who were members of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Regional Office 8.
Facing a complaint for multiple murder are Superintendent Marvin Wynn Marcos, Superintentdent Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, Senior Inspector (SI) Deogracia Pedong Diaz, SI Fritz Bioco Blanco, Senior Police Officer 4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, SPO4 Eric Palattao Constantino, SPO2 Benjamin Layague Dacallos, SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano, Jr., PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 Niel Patrimonio Centino, PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpilla, PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan, Cristal Jane Briones Gisma, Divine Grace Baclas Songalia, all assigned at CIDG Regional Office No. 08, Port Area, Tacloban City as well as PCINSP Calixto Cabardo Canillas, Jr., PINSP Lucresito Adana Candelosas, SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan, and PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal, all assigned at Regional Maritime Unit 8 Port Area, Tacloban City.
The NBI also filed perjury charges against PCINSP Leo Diao Laraga, PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa and Paul Olendan for maliciously obtaining a search warrant.
During the hearing, the respondents filed a supplemental counter-affidavit to answer the Espinosa’s son, suspected big-time drug lord Kerwin Espinosa complaint affidavit against the same respondents.
”Just reiterated the differences that had been raised in the main counter-affidavit because if you would like to recall the charge or allegations contained in the complaint-affidavit of Kerwin are just reiterations and hearsay allegations based on the investigation and complaint filed by the NBI,” Atty. Roland Inting, one of the 12 lawyers representing the 24 respondents
Inting said that the counsels find it necessary to file also counter-affidavit from their respective clients in answer to the complaint filed by Kerwin Espinosa.
Kerwin filed a complaint which was basically similar to the complaint filed by the NBI.
”Kerwin just quoted and relied on the reports of NBI and adopted as if it is his own and in fact, he was not there. He was not a witness,” Inting noted.
Inting reiterated the NBI failed to prove that there was conspiracy among 24 police officers.
”I don’t think there is conspiracy. I am confident that there is no conspiracy because it is very basic in jurisprudence that the evidence of conspiracy charge or allegation must be as heavy and weighty and must have the same quality as that of the evidence of the crime. There is none,” he explained.
For Kerwin’s part, lawyer Leilani Villarino said that there has to be a private complainant Kerwin is also the son and the complaint was basically similar to the complaint filed by the NBI.
She noted that they were happy because the case is submitted for resolution.
”Manifested before the panel that the affidavit of Kerwin was just a reiteration of a complaint -affidavit of NBI. Kasi nga wala siya dito. Definitely wala siyang personal knowledge as to the commission of the crime. But being the son of Mayor Espinosa, there has to be a private complainant on this case because Kerwin wanted to participate on the prosecution of the case. That is why nag-execute siya ng affidavit. We are happy that preliminary investigation is over and the case is for resolution,” Villarino explained.
It will be recalled that citing testimonial and forensic evidence, the NBI said the killing of Espinosa, who has earlier surrendered to the authorities after he and his son Kerwin were named by President Rodrigo Duterte as being involved in the illegal drugs trade, and Yap, were a result of rub-out and not a shootout as claimed by the policemen who conducted the raid.
The police team who conducted the raid insisted that Espinosa shot at them first, prompting them to fire back.