DOJ subpoenas cops in slay of Albuera mayor Espinosa
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday, December 14, subpoenaed police officers allegedly involved in the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr and his fellow inmate inside a Leyte jail cell on November 5.
The police officers were asked to respond to the multiple murder and perjury complaints filed against them by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The subpoenas were sent to the respondents’ mother units, as well as to the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame which required the respondents to appear during the preliminary investigation of the case and answer the complaints against them.
The 5-member panel of prosecutors, chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo, set the preliminary investigation on December 20, 2016, and January 8, 2017, 10 am, at the DOJ multi-purpose hall.
The NBI filed the complaint after its investigation showed that Yap and fellow inmate Raul Yap were killed in a rubout – not a shootout – with the police team led by Superintendent Marvin Marcos, former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 (CIDG 8) chief.
Aside from Marcos, others subpoenaed are:
- Superintendent Santi Noel Matira
- Chief Inspector Leo Laraga
- Senior Inspector Deogracias Diaz III
- Senior Inspector Fritz Blanco
- Senior Police Officer 4 Juanito Duarte
- Senior Police Officer 4 Melvin Cayobit
- Sernio Police Officer 4 Eric Constantito
- Senior Police Officer 2 Benjamin Dacallos
- Senior Police Officer 2 Alphinor Serrano Jr
- Police Officer 3 Johnny Ibanez
- Police Officer 3 Norman Abellanosa
- Police Officer 2 Niel Centino
- Police Officer 1 Bernard Orpilla
- Police Officer 1 Lloyd Ortiguesa
- Police Officer 1 Jerlan Cabiyaan
- Cristal Jane Gisma
- Divine Grace Songalia
- Chief Inspector Calixto Canillas Jr
- Inspector Lucrecito Candilosas
- Senior Police Officer 2 Antonio Docil
- Senior Police Officer 1 Mark Christian Cadilo
- Police Officer 2 John Ruel Doculan
- Police Officer 2 Jaime Bacsal
Laraga, Abellanosa, and Paul Olendan are facing separate complaints for perjury. Olendan's affidavit – he claimed to have seen Espinosa and Yap dealing drugs inside the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City – was the basis of a search warrant that Marcos' team were to serve on Espinosa in the operation that killed him.
Duterte: Innocent till proven guilty
The night before the NBI subpoenaed the police officers, President Rodrigo Duterte told members of the Filipino community in Cambodia that he would still believe Marcos' version on Espinosa's death – that the mayor tried to fight back – unless proven otherwise.
"The mayor of ‘yung pinatay na sabi nila na sinalvage. Well, maybe. Maybe true, maybe not. But because I am the President at ang pulis ko under ko, doon ako maniwala," he said.
(The mayor was said to have been salvaged. Well, maybe. Maybe true, maybe not. But because I am the President and the police are under me, I will believe them.)
Duterte said that "unless there is a case filed and [they are] convicted, I would still believe the police and even the military for that matter."
He also reiterated his explanation of why he ordered PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa to reinstate Marcos as CIDG 8 chief despite the latter's alleged drug links: he wanted to know the police officers Marcos had "infected."
"I just wanted to know how far was the contamination. That was it," Duterte said. – Rappler.com