PNP, Napolcom, CHR among agencies investigating Espinosa Sr.’s death in ‘shootout’
THE Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service has launched its motu proprio investigation into the killing of jailed Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in a reported shootout with agents of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who raided his cell on Saturday.
PNP-IAS head Chief Superintendent Leo Angelo Leuterio said that the PNP-IAS headquarters and the Regional IAS 8 have been working for the initial motu proprio investigation as part of their mandate.
He said that they have requested both the PNP-CIDG headquarters and the CIDG Regional Office 8 to submit the names of at least 15 CIDG operatives involved in the operation.
“RIAS 8, under the leadership of Supt. Ongkiko has conducted an ocular investigation in said jail. The process of obtaining affidavits is ongoing as well as the review of relevant documents to determine possible violations of Police Operational Procedures,” the official said.
Leuterio said all initial efforts of the PNP-IAS are geared toward the proper filing of complaints against police officers found to have violated any operational procedures.
“We are working fast but with diligence in order to determine violations of POP in the incident. All relevant units within IAS have been instructed to pursue this matter thoroughly and to ensure we are prompt in our investigation,” he said.
On Sunday, PNP-CIDG director Chief Supt. Roel B. Obusan sent a team of Camp Crame-based CIDG investigators to Tacloban City to conduct an investigation into the killing of Mayor Espinosa.
The PNP-IAS and CIDG investigation is ongoing as PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa has vowed full transparency and no cover-up in the investigation into the killing of Espinosa Sr. inside his cell in Baybay City.
The PNP chief who is set to arrive in Manila yesterday after watching the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas fight promised a full-blast investigation into the incident as he ordered his men to determine the circumstances surrounding the mayor’s killing.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael ‘Mike’ D. Sueno yesterday directed the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to conduct a parallel investigation into the alleged shootout incident at the Baybay City Sub-Provincial Jail which led to the death Espinosa and Yap.
Sueno said the Napolcom has the legal and moral ascendancy to initiate its own probe into the Baybay City jail incident to determine the culpability of the concerned police officers considering that it is the agency mandated to exercise administrative and operational supervision over the PNP.
“While the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) has automatically started its own investigation, it is still necessary for NAPOLCOM to get into the picture to lend integrity and credibility to the probe,” he said.
CHR steps in
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has stepped into the case of Espinosa Sr.
CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel–Gana said she already ordered Region 8 director Paquito Nacino to coordinate with the authorities in conducting their own investigation into the alleged shootout.
Pimentel–Gana also heads the CHR Task Force Extra Judicial Killings which is probing the deaths of drug personalities in the government’s fight against illegal drugs.
The CHR, according to Pimentel-Gana, will also send its forensic team to Leyte for its own examination of Espinosa’s body.
The CHR official said they wanted to know why there was no proper coordination between the CIDG men and the jail’s personnel and officials on the raid on Espinosa’s cell.
Pimentel–Gana also promised to cooperate with the planned re-opening of a Senate inquiry into alleged EJK cases.
Don’t prejudge — PNP
The Philippine National Police leadership yesterday called on the public to wait for the result of the ongoing investigation into the killing of jailed Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa before making any judgment on the case.
In a press conference, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Francisco Uyami Jr. said they are still awaiting the result of the investigation including the official PNP Crime Laboratory report on the position of Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap when they were killed in a reported gunbattle with agents of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
As a matter of standard procedure, the PNP has started investigating the incident to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the involvement of the personnel of the Criminal Investigative and Detection Group led by Police Chief Inspector Leo Laraga who figured in an armed engagement with Mayor Espinosa and another inmate Raul Yap who succumbed to gunshot wounds inside the Leyte Sub Provincial Jail located at Barangay Hipusngo, Baybay City, Leyte at 4 a.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2016,” said Uyami.