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In hot water

  • Written by Hector Lawas
  • Published in Top Stories
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Featured In hot water

DoJ orders 25 cops in death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Espinosa to answer murder charges in less than a month

THE Department of Justice  (DoJ) yesterday gave the 25 policemen charged with the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and a fellow inmate inside their detention cell in Baybay, Leyte last November 5 almost a month to answer the charges against them.

During yesterday’s preliminary hearing on the multiple murder and other criminal cases filed against the policemen, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo directed the respondents led by Supt. Marvin Marcos to submit their counter-affidavits on January 23, 2017 on the killing of Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap.

The respondents were also given copies of the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation during the proceedings.
Alejo also directed the witnesses of the NBI to subscribe to the complaints on the same date.
The  proceedings stemmed from the murder robbery, malicious procurement of search warrant, perjury and planting of evidence charges that were filed by the NBI against Marcos, Superintendent Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, Senior Inspector (SI) Deogracia Pedong Diaz, SI Fritz Bioco Blanco, Senior Police Officer 4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, SPO4 Eric Palattao Constantino, SPO2 Benjamin Layague Dacallos, SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano, Jr., PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 Niel Patrimonio Centino, PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpilla, PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan, Cristal Jane Briones Gisma, Divine Grace Baclas Songalia, all assigned at CIDG Regional Office No. 08, Port Area, Tacloban City as well as PCINSP Calixto Cabardo Canillas, Jr., PINSP Lucresito Adana Candelosas, SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan, and PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal, all assigned at Regional
Maritime Unit 8 Port Area, Tacloban City.
The NBI also recommended the filing of perjury charges against PCINSP Leo Diao Laraga, PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa.
Also charged with perjury and malicious procurement of search warrant was Paul Olendan, the witness used by the police to obtain the search warrants against Espinosa and Yap from Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of the Regional Trial Court branch 30 in Basey, Samar.   

Among the accused, only Centino, who reportedly was absent without official leave since October 5, and Olendan were not able to attend the proceedings.

Fourteen of the respondents were not represented by lawyers, prompting the panel of prosecutors to advise them to get the services of legal counsel soon.

PNP admonished
Also during the hearing, Alejo admonished policemen for prohibiting members of the media from covering the preliminary investigation of the controversial case.
“We remind members of the PNP that this is the DoJ and not the PNP. Please take orders from authorities of the DoJ,” the prosecutor said.
The policemen who were tasked to secure the proceedings and escort the respondents barred reporters from entering the venue of the hearing and even covered the door with a white board to prevent footages from being taken.
Eventually, the members of the media were allowed to enter the multi-purpose hall where the proceedings are taking place.