Kin of slain Leyte mayor Espinosa vindicated by Senate report
TACLOBAN CITY — The family of slain Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera town in Leyte felt vindicated by the Senate report that his killing was meant to “silence” him.
Speaking on behalf of the family, lawyer Johan John Ungab said the Senate report affirmed the belief of the family members that Espinosa was murdered by members of the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas (CIDG-8) inside his cell at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City last Nov. 5.
“We have been saying all along that there was an intent to kill the mayor…” Ungab told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.
The lawyer, however, said that he had yet to talk about the Senate report with Kerwin, son of the late mayor and the man called by the police as the biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas.
Kerwin is now detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City, the Philippine National Police headquarters, pending resolution of the drug charges against him.
Espinosa and another inmate, Raul Yap, were shot dead by CIDG-8 operatives led by their director, Supt. Marvin Marcos, in a pre-dawn operation.
Marcos claimed that the mayor and Yap were killed in a shootout, a claim now debunked in a joint report by the Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs, and on justice and human rights.
In the 34-page report, the Senate committees said Marcos and his men were guilty of grave abuse of authority and were involved in the premeditated killing of the mayor.
They cited the testimony of Kerwin in the Senate inquiry that Marcos and some members of the raiding team were under his payroll when he was running a drug syndicate in Eastern Visayas – an allegation strongly denied by Marcos.
The report showed that the mayor was silenced by “individuals who wanted their participation concealed” and that they happened to have access and means to kill Espinosa “through abuse of their authority.”
Ungab said that the Senate report would help boost their case against the CIDG-8 operatives for the killing of Espinosa.
The complaint, which remained pending at the Department of Justice, was lodged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which conducted a separate probe on the raid and the killing of Espinosa and Yap.
Like the Senate report, the NBI said Espinosa died in a rubout orchestrated by the CIDG-8 operatives led by Marcos.
The Inquirer checked the CIDG-8 office in Tacloban City if Marcos and members of the raiding had returned to their old posts after they were reinstated by President Duterte, who stood by the account of the CIDG-8 operatives on the mayor’s killing.
Major Teodolo Armada, CIDG-8 assistant director, told the Inquirer that Marcos and his men had not been reporting to the regional office since Nov. 9, 2016. SFM/rga
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