Senate probe concludes coverup in mayor’s killing

By , on March 13, 2017

Photo: Unofficial Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa Solid Supporters/
Photo: Unofficial Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa Solid Supporters/

Senate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and on Justice and Human Rights state there was an overwhelming evidence to support that there was a cover-up in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap.

Committee Chairs Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Richard Gordon said that Supt. Marvin Marcos and his men from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 (CIDG-8) ”could have been prevented from doing their dastardly deed” had they been relieved a month before they “silenced” Espinosa.

In a 34-page report made on March 7, the committees also warned President Duterte about “micromanaging” the Philippine National Police, as it was his decision to recall the said relief order if in the event it had been issued, the killing would’ve been prevented.

“The committees are of the opinion that the President should not be micromanaging the affairs of the government and should place his trust in the sound discretion of all his appointees, including PNP Chief Dela Rosa”.

“He should be given a free hand to decide on how to run the PNP and his decisions should be recognized and respected, and should be countermanded or reversed only by the Chief Executive in case of a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion”.

“The Committees strongly condemn the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa and Raul Yap. Though they have committed violations of our existing laws, the same is to be determined by our courts. Granting that certain freedoms are denied to detainees, including their right to privacy, they are still entitled to the fundamental right to life as guaranteed by the Constitution”.

The report also ruled the following: 1) The Committees found it “appalling” that the jail guards and police personnel in charge of Espinosa’s safety were “disarmed and forced to kneel down and face the wall” by the CIDG men while conducting the raid, 2) “overwhelming force” was used when Marcos had reportedly brought in 18 CIDG men and six members from the Regional Maritime Unit as “perimeter defense”, 3) Espinosa and Yap had no firearms and illegal drugs in their possession, which was in contrast to the Police report made about the incident, 4) the Committees conclude that Espinosa was silenced by “individuals who wanted their participation concealed” and that they have used their access and means to kill Espinosa “through abuse of their authority”.

It was also cited that evidence was planted in the cells of Espinosa and Yap, and that Marcos and his men also took the hard drive of the CCTV cameras in the jail. The jail guards had affirmed that the cameras were functional on the day of the raid.
Kerwin Espinosa, Espinosa’s son who was also named for his participation in the illegal drugs said before the Senate hearing that Chief Insp. Leo Laraga (who shot Rolando Espinosa) and Supt. Santi Noel Mitra had been on his payroll. This statement alone suggests that this is probably the main reason as to why Espinosa was killed.