WHAT WENT BEFORE: Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. slay
Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera town in Leyte province was killed in what the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) claimed was a shootout on Nov. 5.
Espinosa, 54, was arrested on Oct. 5 for illegal possession of drugs and firearms. He pleaded not to be taken to the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City, saying he feared for his life there but his plea was ignored.
Under the command of Supt. Marvin Marcos, a CIDG-Region 8 team conducted a predawn operation to serve a search warrant on Espinosa, whom they suspected to be keeping a gun and “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) inside his Baybay cell.
Espinosa and another inmate, Raul Yap, were killed in the raid. The two allegedly fought it out with the CIDG team.
On Oct. 26, prior to Espinosa’s killing, Marcos was relieved, according to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa, after he was named by the mayor’s son Kerwin, an alleged big time drug lord, among officers receiving drug protection money. At that time, Kerwin was under arrest in Abu Dhabi, where he had fled.
Dela Rosa said he had received instructions from President Duterte to reinstate Marcos, immediately after he issued the relief order. Dela Rosa said Marcos was facing an internal affairs service inquiry anyway.
Marcos during the Senate hearing on Dec. 5 was asked to explain the swiftness of the President’s intervention and whether he had high-level connections.
He said that the relief directive had come much earlier on a case filed against him in June and that the President probably referred to that case, not about Kerwin’s alleged revelations in Abu Dhabi.
On Nov. 7, two days after the killing of Espinosa, Marcos was relieved again on orders from CIDG headquarters in connection with the Baybay jail incident. Three days later, Dela Rosa ordered the administrative relief of all policemen involved in the death of the mayor.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson in a Senate inquiry on the case said the mayor’s killing appeared premeditated.
On Nov. 23, the younger Espinosa, in a testimony before the Senate, said that Marcos was on his payroll, receiving a total of P3 million to fund the election campaign of his wife who was running for vice mayor in May. Marcos denied this.
On Dec. 5, the widow of Chief Insp. Jesus Son testified in the Senate hearing that her husband had told her he might be killed for refusing a request by Marcos to have the Albuera Mayor killed. —INQUIRER RESEARCH
Source: Inquirer Archives
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