Cops in Espinosa slay now free
TACLOBAN CITY — After more than two months in detention, the police officers who had been investigated for the extrajudicial killing of a Leyte town mayor linked to drugs have been set free after the charges against them had been downgraded from murder to homicide.
Supt. Marvin Marcos and several other police officers walked out of the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City where they had been detained, after a court allowed them to post bail in a decision that came in the aftermath of a promise made by President Duterte to shield the law enforcers from prosecution.
Judge Carlos Arguelles, presiding over Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Baybay City, signed the release order for Marcos and his 18 coaccused.
Marcos and the other officers had been charged with killing Rolando Espinosa Sr., mayor of Albuera town in Leyte province, and suspected protector of a drug syndicate led by his son.
Mayor Espinosa was shot dead while in detention at the subprovincial jail in Baybay City on Nov. 5 last year.
The case had been investigated by the Senate which recommended the filing of murder cases against Marcos and the other officers.
Among the Senate’s findings was that there was premeditation in the killing of Mayor Espinosa.
Among the testimonies given during the Senate investigation was the request of police officers for a forensics team that came even before Mayor Espinosa was killed, which had been taken to mean that policemen involved in the operation to raid the mayor’s cell were out to kill him.
Supt. Zacarias Noel Villegas, regional director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said on Saturday that relatives picked up Marcos and his coaccused shortly after Judge Arguelles signed the release order.
Arguelles set a P40,000 bail for each of the accused for two counts of homicide.
The group of Marcos had also been accused of killing another detainee, Raul Yap.
Villegas, asked to describe the mood of Marcos and the other accused, said the police officers appeared to be relieved to be out on bail.
“Some had grown beards in detention,” Villegas said.
Aside from Marcos, who was then regional CIDG chief, also released on bail were police officers Deogracia Pedong Diaz III, Calixto Canillas Jr., Lucresito Candelosas, Benjamin Dacallos, Antonio Docil, Mark Christian Cadilo, Norman Abellanosa, John Ruel Doculan, Jaime Bacsal and Jerlan Cabiyaan for the case involving Mayor Espinosa.
Out on bail for the case involving Yap were police officers Noel Matira, Leo Daio Laraga, Melvin Caboyit and Johnny Abuda Ibanez.
The officers had been detained since March 20.
Villegas said the officers “were treated like any ordinary detainee.”
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