Dela Rosa sacks 24 cops over Espinosa killing

Bea Cupin
Dela Rosa sacks 24 cops over Espinosa killing

Ben Nabong

The announcement comes on the day the Senate opens a probe into the incident

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Thursday, November 10, ordered the relief of 24 policemen over an operation that resulted in the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr

“After being appraised of the initial results of the investigation… I have directed Police Director Fernando Mendez Jr. of the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management to immediately issue the order for the relief of 18 other Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit 8 (CIDU 8) and six Regional Maritime Unit 8 (RMU 8) personnel involved in operation effective immediately,” Dela Rosa, who is in Malaysia with President Rodrigo Duterte, said in a statement released to media. 

At dawn of Saturday, November 5, personnel from the CIDG and Maritime units from Eastern Visayas implemented a search warrant against Espinosa and another inmate, Raul Yap, who were both detained inside the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City, Leyte. The warrant was for the reported presence of guns and illegal drugs inside the cells of the two. (READ: Espinosa death: 3 issues police need to answer)

CIDG personnel claimed Espinosa and Yap fired shots when they implemented the warrant, prompting the cops to fire back. But this claim has been rejected by witnesses, as well as former PNP chief Senator Panfilo Lacson, who now leads a Senate probe into the incident. 

The following personnel have been ordered relieved and reassigned to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit in Camp Crame:  

CIDG 8  

  1. Superintendent (Supt) Marin Marcos, former CIDG 8 chief 
  2. Supt Santi Noel Matira
  3. Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, team leader during the operation 
  4. Senior Inspector (SInsp) Deogracias Diaz
  5. Senior Insp Eric Constantino  
  6. Senior Insp Fritz Blanco 
  7. Senior Police Office 4 (SPO4) Melvin Cayobit
  8. SPO4 Juanito Duarte 
  9. SPO2 Alphinor Serrano Jr
  10. SPO1 Benjamin Dacallos
  11. Police Office 3 (PO3) Johnny Ibañez
  12. PO3 Norman Abellanosa 
  13. PO2 Neil Centino 
  14. PO1 Lloyd Ortigueza 
  15. PO1 Bhernard Orpilla 
  16. PO1 Kristal Jane Gisma 
  17. PO1 Kerlan Cabiyaan 
  18. PO1 Divine Grace Songalia  

Maritime Unit 

  1. Chief Inspector Calixto Canillas Jr
  2. Inspector Lucresito Candilosas 
  3. SPO2 Antonio Docil 
  4. SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo 
  5. PO2 John Ruel Doculan 
  6. PO2 Jaime Bacsal 

Espinosa was among the first local chief executives to “surrender” to police in August over supposed links to illegal drugs. No less than Duterte issued a warning to Espinosa and his son, alleged Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. 

Before he was killed inside the jail, Espinosa executed two affidavits that pinned down people – including sitting legislators, police, and Leyte politicians – who supposedly received “protection money” from the younger Espinosa. Several of those named have denied the allegations. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.