Marcos, 18 other cops in killing of Leyte town mayor arrested for double murder
Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other police officers were arrested over the weekend in connection with the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., an alleged drug lord, and another inmate in their jail cells last November in what the National Bureau of Investigation had described as a “rubout.”
The 19 police officers are charged with two counts of murder, a nonbailable offense.
Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday announced the arrests of Marcos, the sacked regional chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and members of his raiding team that allegedly shot and killed Espinosa in the Baybay subprovincial jail in Leyte province, along with another inmate, Raul Yap.
Dela Rosa said Judge Carlos Arguelles of the Baybay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) had issued the arrest warrants and that the court order was being awaited on where the men would be detained pending trial.
Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, PNP spokesperson, said the defendants were booked on Monday in Baybay at the CIDG regional office for Eastern Visayas.
Besides Marcos, the other defendants were identified as Supt. Santi Noel G. Matira, Chief Insp. Leo D. Laraga, SPO4 Melvin M. Cayobit, PO3 Jhonny A. Ibañez, Chief Insp. Calixto C. Canillas, SPO4 Juanito A. Duarte, PO1 Lloyd O. Ortiguesa, Senior Insp. Fritz B. Blanco, PO1 Bernard R. Orpilla, Senior Insp. Deogracias P. Diaz III, SPO2 Benjamin L. Dacallos, PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa, PO1 Jerlan S. Cabiyaan, Insp. Lucrecito A. Candilosas, SPO2 Antonio R. Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo, PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan, and PO2 Jaime P. Bacsal.
“Upon completion of the booking procedure, which include fingerprinting, documentation, mug shot and medical examination, the warrants of arrest will be returned to the RTC Branch 14, and a corresponding commitment order is expected to be issued by the court for the custody of the respondents,” Carlos said.
Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, PNP director for Eastern Visayas, said the officers voluntarily submitted themselves “for accounting and investigation.”
The Inquirer went to the CIDG regional office in Baybay on Monday afternoon but was not allowed to go inside the compound and talk to Marcos and the other officers.
Dela Rosa said the PNP Internal Affairs Service would also release by the end of the month the results of its own investigation of the administrative charges against Marcos and his men.
The NBI filed last Nov. 5 two counts of murder against Marcos and his men for the killing of both Espinosa, the mayor of Albuera town in Leyte, and Yap.
The NBI described the incident as a “rubout.”
Searching for drugs and firearms, the CIDG team raided the cells of Espinosa and Yap but the two men opened fire and were then shot and killed, according to Marcos.
Senators who conducted an inquiry into the incident described Espinosa’s killing as “premeditated” due to the suspicious manner by which the CIDG team had carried out the raid.
Espinosa’s son Kerwin, a confessed drug distributor, had testified during the Senate inquiry that some members of the CIDG team were receiving protection payoffs from him.
Both the Senate inquiry and the NBI investigation showed that neither Yap nor Espinosa was armed at that time of the raid.
In a joint 34-page report, the Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs, and on justice and human rights, said Marcos and his men were guilty of grave abuse of authority and were involved in the premeditated killing of the mayor.
The report cited Kerwin’s testimony that some members of the raiding team were on his payroll when he was running a drug syndicate in Eastern Visayas—an allegation strongly denied by the officers.
It said the mayor was silenced by “individuals who wanted their participation concealed” and that they happened to have access and means to kill Espinosa “through abuse of their authority.”
However, President Duterte has stood by Marcos and his men, saying they would not go to prison. —WITH A REPORT FROM JOEY A. GABIETA