Slain Albuera mayor Espinosa laid to rest | Inquirer News

Slain Albuera mayor Espinosa laid to rest

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 10:21 PM December 04, 2016


ALBUERA, Leyte — Close to 1,500 supporters of the 54-year-old mayor joined his loved ones in the more-than-a-kilometer funeral procession after a Requiem Mass officiated by town parish priest, Fr. Dennis Enocando, and his assisting parish priests, Fathers Dennis Son and James Sian Sital at the Saint James Parish Church.

The funeral procession bearing the white casket of the fallen mayor, gunned down during an alleged shootout with the members of the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on November 4 inside the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City, started at around 12 noon from his residence in Barangay Binolho, this town.


“He was really a good man and always ready to help us his people whenever we came to him for a help,” Veronica Alajas, 32, of Barangay Mahayag.

She, together with other residents of Mahayag, the farthest barangay (village) of Albuera more than five kilometers away from the town center, paid for the vehicle that brought them to the funeral procession.


Alajas narrated that she received financial help from Espinosa, who was not yet the mayor at that time, when a relative was in need of burial assistance.

“Of course we are sad that he is now gone. He was really a helpful man to us. We are aware that he was in the (illegal drug) trade but still he helped us, and the way he was murdered was just too much,” Marlene Velarde, 38 of Barangay Tinag-an, said.

Those who joined the funeral procession wore in blue colored t-shirt, said to be the campaign uniform of Espinosa when he ran for mayor of Albuera during the May 9, 2016 elections.

The family members wore white t-shirts bearing the words “fight for justice.”

Rolando Espinosa

Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. when he surrendered to PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa in early August 2016. (INQUIRER.NET FILE PHOTO/ JULLIANE LOVE DE JESUS)

People could also be seen in the streets while some peered through their doors or windows during the funeral procession.

A sister of the slain mayor, Juliet Carol Drewberry, expressed the family’s gratitude for their support during their time of bereavement.

“Thank you for coming here,” she briefly spoke after the Requiem Mass.


Father Enocando, after the Mass, also offered their condolences to the family.  “We are with you in this time of your bereavement,” he said.

Lawyer Leilani Villarino, who spoke before the members of the media, said that the family was happy about the turnout of the people during the burial of Espinosa.  “This shows that they loved the mayor,” she said.

Incumbent Mayor Rosa Nemeses was present during the Requiem Mass but did not proceed to the burial.

The remains of the former mayor were finally laid to rest in a simple and unfinished tomb around 3 pm.

Cries coming from his loved ones and supporters were heard after the casket of the mayor was placed inside the tomb.

A Philippine flag, placed at the casket, was folded and turned over the family of the late mayor.

The children of the mayor led in releasing white balloons as they shouted “we love you daddy!”

Along the funeral procession, soldiers and policemen could be seen in full uniform.

The Leyte provincial police director, Senior Supt. Franco Simborio, said that aside from the local police, he augmented the security in the town during the burial of Espinosa.

“On top of the augmented forces during the burial, I deployed 20 policemen for the family until such time that the threat against them subsides,” the police official said.  SFM

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TAGS: Albuera municipality, Crime, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), death of a drug suspect, Drug trafficking, drug-related killing, Extrajudicial killing, Franco Simborio, Funeral, Illegal drugs, law enforcement, Leyte, Leyte Provincial Police, Leyte sub-provincial jail, mayor, Murder, police operation, police raid, purge, Rolando Espinosa Sr., rubout, Shootout, suspected drug traffickers
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