A former police general and now a congressman said all signs of an extrajudicial killing were present in the slaying of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa by the police for allegedly fighting back even while in detention.
In a press conference at the House of Representatives on Monday, Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop said Espinosa’s death was a clear case of summary killing, based on the reports he read and some first-hand information.
The former police general questioned the need to serve the search warrant even though Espinosa was already in detention in a government facility over charges of illegal possession of drugs and unlicensed firearms.
The congressman also questioned why the search warrant was served in the wee hours of the morning, and why there was no cross-examination of a witness who would corroborate the allegations Espinosa and another slain detainee Raul Yap had firearms in their cells.
“Ako ay matagal na imbestigador, at bilang isang imbestigador, hindi kami kaagad nagko-conclude unless mabasa namin ang official investigation report… Be that as it may, from the report that I have heard and read, all signs of a summary killing are there, unless all the issues or questionable actions on the part of the operating officers would be answered by them appropriately,” Acop said.
He also said he has some information on the persons who may be involved in the killing, but he opted not to divulge it because it has yet to be validated.
“Why should a search warrant be requested dun sa isang government facility who is under the control of the government already? Number two, the time the search warrant was executed. Pwede naman gawin sa araw, hindi sa gabi. Number three, walang lumalabas na resulta ng cross examination ng judge na nag-issue ng search warrant. There was supposed to be a witness to explain in detail ano merong sa selda ni Mayor Espinosa at Mr. Yap,” Acop said.
On Nov. 5, Espinosa was slain by a raiding team of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region VIII in what the police claimed to be a shoot-out, even though Espinosa and Yap were in detention at the sub-provincial jail in Baybay city.
The CIDG barged into the jail to serve a search warrant over suspicions the two were holding shabu and firearms inside the cells.
The CIDG alleged that Espinosa shot the police, prompting them to fire back, fatally hitting the mayor in the head, chest and stomach.
The raiding team recovered a .38-pistol and a pack of shabu from the cell of Espinosa, and a .45-pistol, 27 packs of marijuana and 21 sachets of shabu from Yap.
The CIDG also took the hard drive that contained a CCTV video of the incident.
The police are set to investigate the incident, which former police chief Senator Panfilo Lacson believed is a clear case of extrajudicial killing.
Espinosa was slain as he was expected to name more personalities involved in the illegal drug trade of his son Roland “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., said to be the biggest drug trader in the Eastern Visayas region. Kerwin was arrested in Abu Dhabi after fleeing the charges.
Espinosa surrendered to authorities after he was named by President Rodrigo Duterte as among local chief executives allegedly involved in the drug trade. JE/rga
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