Cops: Why would we file cases if we wanted Espinosas dead?
MANILA — The policemen tagged as drug coddlers by confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa, defended themselves in a Senate hearing on Wednesday, saying they would not have labored to arrest and file charges against his father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and him if they just wanted them dead anyway. They would have simply rubbed them out without ever exposing their illegal trade to public scrutiny, the police officials said.
Saying they had been unfairly accused, the police officers tagged as drug protectors by Roland “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., insisted the confessed drug lord should be the one brought to justice for his crimes.
Seething as he spoke, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 head, Supt. Marvin Marcos, scoffed at Kerwin Espinosa’s accusations, claiming he had even accorded the drug trafficker due process as he did not want to circumvent police procedure.
Marcos is among the CIDG officers under investigation for the suspicious killing of Espinosa’s father, Mayor Espinosa. If he had really planned to get rid of the Espinosas, he said, he could have just killed the father and son at the same time.
“We filed three cases against him (Kerwin Espinosa) that’s why there is an arrest warrant, why he was arrested in Abu Dhabi. We were the ones who had the determination … Now, if I had planned to kill his father so he would not talk against us, then I should have just killed them both at the same time and no longer file cases,” said Marcos, the anger apparent in his face.
“The accusation is very unfair to us … It hurts our families, the families of the members of the CIDG. We are just doing our job,” said Marcos, unable to hold back tears.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, gave the police officers a chance to speak after Espinosa tagged them in the drug trade at the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the elder Espinosa’s death.
The committee had found in the previous hearing indications that the mayor’s death in a pre-dawn raid by members of the CIDG Region 8 was premeditated. The raiders maintained Espinosa had tried to fight them off as they served a warrant to search for a reported pistol in his possession while held at a subprovincial jail in Baybay City.
Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, leader of the CIDG raiding team, directly addressed the younger Espinosa and maintained that his father had resisted the officers. Laraga was the one who shot the mayor during the operation.
“I am even having regrets even if your father resisted… But I did not want my child to lose his father by getting killed by your father,” he said.
The raiding team’s supervisor, Supt. Santi Noel Matira, told the committee that police officers in his region have long been hot to get Espinosa, but had been inhibited by higher officials.
“If we were given a chance to operate against them, your honor, this would not have reached this point,” said Matira, among officers accused as drug protectors.
He named retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot and former Police Regional Office-8 Director and Chief Supt. Asher Dolina as those who allegedly stopped police operations against Espinosa.
Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, the Albuera town police chief, lamented how Espinosa’s allegations were easily accepted, destroying the reputations of people he had implicated.
“I hope the public would just look at the situation in Albuera… It is just so easy to destroy the credibility of a person,” he said.
“They (Espinosas) were the ones that terrorized Albuera. I just want to give justice to those who lost loved ones,” said Espenido, in reference to those who died allegedly in the hands of the Espinosas. SFM
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