SC sanction sought on judge for search warrant on Mayor Espinosa
Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to finish its investigation of a judge that issued the search warrant used by the police in raiding the jail cell of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. who was killed in an alleged shootout with officers.
Gordon said the tribunal should take action against Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of Basey, Samar, who should have known that such a warrant was not allowed because persons in custody could be searched anytime.
“I don’t think that’s ignorance of the law alone. I think that’s malicious,” Gordon said in a statement.
Several senators believe the killing of the mayor, father of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, inside the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City early last month was premeditated.
Officers involved in the raid have denied the charge, saying they shot Espinosa after he fired at them using a gun that was the subject of the search warrant.
“The judge who issued the search warrant inside a detention cell in a government office should really be investigated. The investigation should be readily finished, and the Supreme Court should take immediate action,” Gordon said.
The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson opened its own investigation of Espinosa’s predawn killing on Nov. 5.
The Supreme Court had ordered Sabarre and Calbiga RTC Judge Janet Cabalona to explain why they had issued a search warrant on detained suspects.
Cabalona had issued a search warrant on Edgar Allen Alvarez, an inmate killed inside the Leyte Regional Penitentiary on Aug. 11.
Alvarez, like Espinosa, was killed by operatives of Region 8’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Another inmate, Francisco Balagbis, died in a raid conducted by regional antidrug operatives at the Baybay City Jail on Oct. 28.
Gordon said the jail operations may be “a modus operandi” of some police officers also involved in crime.
Lacson’s committee is expected to hold a third hearing on Monday to hear the testimony of Ronnie Dayan, Sen. Leila de Lima’s former driver and lover, who had earlier testified at the House justice committee hearing last week.
Lacson had invited Dayan to clear up inconsistencies between his testimony and Kerwin’s on the circumstances of their alleged meetings.
Dayan said he had receivedwhat he assumed was cash from Espinosa allegedly for De Lima. The senator has repeatedly denied receiving money from the suspected drug lord.
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