LEYTE provincial jail warden Homobono Bardillon insisted that the closed circuit television (CCTV) at Baybay subjail was “working” and not “under repair” on the day a team of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) members killed Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa in a supposed shootout in his cell.
He was commenting on the “mysterious” disappearance of the hard drive of the CCTV at the Baybay sub provincial jail last Nov. 5, the day the CIDG was supposed to search the cell of Espinosa for firearms and illegal drugs.
At yesterday’s first Senate public hearing on the killing of Espinosa, the CIDG officials denied that they took the CCTV footage. They even claimed that based on the jail’s logbook, it showed that the CCTV was “under repair” on that day.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, who led the investigation into the death of Espinosa, has sought answers to the circumstances behind the disappearance of the CCTV.
“Why is the hard drive of the CCTV missing? Who removed it? Isn’t it logical to think that the reasonableness of the force used by the operatives could easily be justified if the CCTV footage is available?” Lacson asked.
Bardillon said that as of Oct. 27, the CCTV at the jail was working until the night of Nov. 4 when the duty jail officer turned over the logbook to the next jail officer on duty indicating that it was in order.
The CIDG raiding team entered the premises past 4 a.m. of Nov. 5. However, Bardillon noted that after the CIDG raiders left they saw an “entry” on the logbook indicating that the CCTV was “under repair” and the CCTV main hard drive was already missing. “I have evidence that, gumagana talaga yung CCTV namin,” he said.
Sen. Grace Poe asked Bardillon about the whereabouts of the CCTV footage. “May hard drive yun diba?” she asked. To which Bardillon replied: “Yes Ma’am, merong hard drive, pero after ng raid nila, wala na doon.”
”So, may kumuha?” Poe again asked. Bardillon answered “yes.” “From 3 a.m. until hanggang 11 a.m., ‘yung CIDG po ang may control sa jails namin,” he said.
“Sa gabi po, ‘yung ginagawa ng gwardiya po namin, in-enter na po nila sa logbook kung ano-ano ang i-tu turn over pagka-umagahan. So nakalagay na po doon lahat, ‘yung mga CCTV para po pagkadating ng 7 a.m. pipirmahan na po nila ‘yung outgoing at saka ‘yung incoming. Ang nangyari po doon, merong naglagay in close parenthesis na under repair,” he added.
CIDG Chief Inspector Leo Laraga denied knowledge about the missing CCTV footage despite his admission that the raiding CIDG team disarmed the jail guards and forced them to “face the wall.”
“Totoo po yun na nag face the wall sila pero never po kaming pumunta o kumuha po doon sa sinasabi niya na CCTV recorder. Ni hindi rin po talaga at wala rin pong knowledge talaga kung saan banda po ‘yun. Kasi hindi po ‘yun talaga subject ng search po namin,” said Laraga.