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Solons urge credible Espinosa killing probe

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 252

TWO lawmakers have called for an impartial investigation into the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the Duterte government to immediately form an independent inter-agency task force to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of Espinosa Sr. inside his detention cell.

She described as “unsettling” the killing Saturday of Espinosa when he allegedly fired at policemen serving him a search warrant for alleged illegal drugs inside his cell. “That Espinosa was brazenly shot dead behind bars is the height of impunity.”

“The government must get to the bottom of this issue,” said Hontiveros. She wanted to know whether there was “foul play” behind the mayor’s death.

“Why was a warrant served at 4 a.m. to someone who is already behind bars and without proper coordination with jail guards? Why was the hard drive of the jail’s CCTV cameras removed? Was there poor jail management?” she asked.
   
“I believe the majority of the police force is honest and trustworthy. Yet, the PNP, as an institution, cannot possibly earn the public’s trust and ease their fears if incidents like this happen in its very backyard,” the senator said.
   
She also supports the call to resume the Senate’s investigation into extrajudicial killings (EJKs) triggered by Espinosa’s death..

Independent probers
   
An opposition lawmaker also called on President Duterte to create an independent commission composed of retirees from the legal profession to investigate the extrajudicial killings (EJK) in the country, following the alleged summary execution of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. Saturday inside his detention cell in Leyte.
   
“President Rodrigo Duterte must forthwith create an independent commission of retired jurists to investigate and recommend the prosecution of those found to be culpable for the unabated extrajudicial killings,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the leaders of the so-called legitimate House Minority Bloc, said on Espinosa who was detained for alleged illegal drugs operations.
   
Lagman explained that only an independent commission can provide credibility to an EJK probe into drug-related deaths.
   
“The task should not be discharged by a legislative committee where the impartiality and independence of its members are compromised or imperiled by political accommodation and differing partisan agenda,” Lagman pointed out.
   
Lagman stressed that the death of Espinosa would render useless the plan of Congress to restore the death penalty.
   
“When a person who is in prison pending his prosecution for an unbailable crime, like Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. of Albuera, Leyte, is summarily executed in his own cell, then the projected reimpositon of the death penalty is a useless formality,” Lagman stressed.

With Ryan Ponce Pacpaco