Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon described as premeditated the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. by a team of the CIDG (Criminal Investigation Detection Group) in Eastern Visayas in a supposed legitimate police operation last November 5.
“Parang tumawag na agad ng punerarya wala pang nangyayaring engkwentro. Lumilitaw na premeditated,” said Lacson. “The whole operation is premeditated,” said Drilon.
“There are a lot of inconsistencies with the testimonies of the CIDG. It seems that they had planned for this encounter way in advance to go through the trouble of applying for a warrant when in fact the mayor was already locked up in a government facility,” said Sen. Grace Poe.
Sen. Bam Aquino said that it was a “rubout” of an alleged drug lord who knew too much. “At risk here is the trust and confidence of our people in the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the rule of law.”
They came up with the adverse observation after they learned that Supt. Santi Noel Matira, a member of the CIDG raiding team, had asked for a SOCO (scene of the crime operatives) at 3:49 a.m. despite the fact that the raiders managed to enter the Baybay, Leyte provincial subjail at around 4:30 a.m. based on the testimony of Supt. Marvin Marcos, CIDG Eastern Visayas Regional Director.
Chief Supt. Suptelmer Beltejar, PNP Eastern Visayas Regional Director, testified during yesterday’s Senate investigation into Espinosa’s death that his office, through PO Jennifer Monghe, received a call at 3:49 a.m. of Nov. 5 requesting a SOCO (scene of the crime operative) team to proceed to the Baybay subjail.
Incidentally, Matira was among the police officers included in Espinosa’s “blue book” containing the list of people under his “drug payola.” Chief Insp. Leo Laraga has testified that it was he who shot Espinosa dead.
Espinosa suffered four gunshot wounds, two in the chest and two in the stomach region, according to Supt. Benjamin Lara, CIDG medico legal.
“As a former Chief PNP and an incumbent legislator, it worries me to think that the Filipino people might lose faith in the police, our justice system, even the entire government, that police operations, judicial intervention or even plain and simple government transactions will be presumed irregular, tainted with corruption and motivated by personal interest, and that the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties will be reduced to mere concepts found on textbooks,” said Lacson.
“It disgusts me to even think of the glaring possibility that people given the privilege to be of service to the public have molested the integrity of our established institutions. Let the Senate be the bully pulpit to ferret out the truth in this investigation. Having said that, let us proceed with this inquiry,” he said.
Aquino said that the evidence presented at the Senate public hearing into Espinosa’s death by the PNP Region VIII Internal Affairs Service (IAS) “paints a different picture than originally presented by the CIDG, Region VIII.”
“Criminal elements may be taking advantage of these unsolved killings to perpetuate their activities and even silence those that can bring their organization down,” he said.
He called on the PNP and related authorities to clean their ranks and hold culprits liable. “Thoroughly investigate and solve these murders and extrajudicial killings at the soonest possible time.”