MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – National police chief Ronald dela Rosa on Monday, March 20, said arrest warrants are out against at least 19 policemen linked to the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
In a press conference at Camp Crame, Dela Rosa said the warrants were issued over the weekend. The basis of the warrants was not immediately made clear.
The warrants, seen by Rappler, recommended no bail. Judge Carlos Arguelles of Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Baybay City, Leyte, issued the two warrants.
Among those ordered arrested is Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the dismissed chief of the Region 8 office of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who was previously ordered reinstated by President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Duterte: I ordered Dela Rosa to reinstate CIDG 8 chief)
Dela Rosa said the warrants were served before the Region 8 office of the PNP CIDG.
Aside from Marcos, the following were covered by the warrants:
- Supt Santi Noel G. Matira
- CInsp Leo D. Laraga
- SPO4 Melvin M. Cayobit
- PO3 Johnny A. Ibañez
- CInsp Calixto C. Canillas Jr
- SPO4 Juanito A. Duarte
- PO1 Lloyd O. Ortigueza
- PSInsp Fritz B. Blanco
- PO1 Bhernard R. Orpilla
- SInsp Deogacias P. Diaz III
- SPO2 Benjamin L. Dacallos
- PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa
- PO1 Jerlan S. Cabiyaan
- Insp Lucrecito A. Candilosas
- SPO2 Antonio R. Docil
- SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo
- PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan
- PO2 Jaime P. Bacsal
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II confirmed that warrants had been issued but did not provide details.
As of posting, the cops were undergoing the booking procedure at the CIDG Eastern Visayas headquarters.
Espinosa was killed inside his Baybay City jail cell on November 5, 2016, months after he “surrendered” before Dela Rosa himself. Espinosa was among the first local chief executives whom Duterte accused of having links to the illegal drugs trade.
The mayor’s son, Kerwin, who is detained, is the alleged drug lord of the Eastern Visayas region.
Espinosa was gunned down by CIDG Region 8 personnel who were serving a search warrant against the mayor and another inmate because they supposedly had firearms and illegal drugs inside the jail.
Police claimed Espinosa fought back as they tried to serve the warrant, making it necessary to gun him down.
But the National Bureau of Investigation later said the case was a “rubout.” The Senate, which also conducted a probe into the case, said police were trying to cover up their own supposed links to the Espinosas.
The justice department had been investigating at least 22 policemen for their involvement in the case. – with reports from Lian Buan / Rappler.com