SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” Lacson “smells” extrajudicial killing (EJK) in the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. inside a jail.
Citing several circumstances, Lacson said that he considered it EJK and dared the Philippine National Police (PNP) to explain.
“Offhand, I can smell EJK, and I based my conclusion on the circumstances that surround the killing. One, how a prisoner inside a prison cell could even think of fighting back against police officers serving a warrant for his arrest,” said Lacson in a statement.
Secondly, he asked why the CIDG officers and not the court personnel served the warrant since he was detained anyway.
Lacson also wondered why there was a need to serve the warrant personally on Espinosa when they could have simply coordinated with the warden.
Lastly, he said, the only other prisoner inside the same cell was also killed, therefore no witness could testify.
For his part, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said that with the death of Espinosa, authorities could no longer identify his accomplices as well as find out where the supplies of drugs are coming from and who were his clients.
Espinosa was earlier charged with possession of drugs and unlicensed firearms after a raid on his house yielded at least 11.5 kg of “shabu” and several firearms and ammunition.
“Regardless of the script the local police would use, at the end of the day, dead men tell no tales...It’s now up to the PNP leadership to demonstrate to our people that its professionalism and discipline haven’t broken down completely yet by immediately conducting an impartial and thorough investigation on this incident,” Trillanes said.
Lacson said that he will discuss the possibility of resuming the EJK probe with Justice Committee Chairman Senator Richard Gordon and focus on the Espinosa killing.
“I think that incident is the biggest challenge to the credibility of the PNP that could affect even the other operations involving drug suspects killed under similarly suspicious circumstances,” Lacson said.
Espinosa had previously sought protective police custody for fear of his life after he and his son, Kerwin, were tagged as among Eastern Visayas’ biggest drug lords.
The younger Espinosa was arrested in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and remains under UAE custody while authorities there investigate whether he had broken any of the country’s laws.