The killings of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and a fellow inmate at a sub-provincial jail were the result of a rubout by several Leyte police officers, results of the National Bureau of Investigation’s parallel probe showed.
NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said testimonial and forensic evidence "showed a community of purpose or an implied conspiracy" in the actions of the policemen, who served the search warrant on Espinosa in the wee hours of November 5.
"After conducting an exhaustive investigation of the incidents surrounding the killing of Mayor Espinosa and [Raul] Yap, the NBI concluded that the testimonies of several witnesses had disputed the claim of an alleged shootout between the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) operatives and inmates Mayor Espinosa and Yap but a rubout," Lavin said at a news conference.
"There was unison in their purpose and action, signifying that they were all moved by a single criminal intent," he added, saying the incident was a "premeditated killing."
Complaints for murder, robbery, malicious procurement of search warrant, perjury and planting of evidence were filed before the Department of Justice on December 2 against 25 people, including Supt. Marvin Marcos, former CIDG Eastern Visayas director, and other members of the raiding team.
Charged with murder, robbery, and planting of evidence were the combined elements of CIDG Eastern Visayas and Regional Maritime Unit that conducted the search operation:
Police Supt. Marvin Marcos
Police Supt. Noel Matira
Police Chief Inspector Leo Laraga
Senior Inspector Deogracia Diaz
Senior Inspector Fritz Blanco
SPO4 Juanito Duarte
SPO4 Melvin Caboyit
SPO4 Eric Constantino
SPO2 Benjamin Dacallos
SPO2 Alphinor Serrano Jr.
PO3 Johnny Ibanez
PO3 Norman Abellanosa
PO2 Niel Centino
PO1 Bernard Orpilla
PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa
PO1 Jerlan Cabiyaan
Cristal Jane Gisma
Divine Grace Songalia
Police Chief Inspector Calixto Canillas Jr.
Police Chief Inspector Lucresito Candelosas
SPO2 Antonio Docil
SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo
PO2 John Ruel Doculan
PO2 Jaime Bacsal
Laraga and Abellanosa are facing separate charges for malicious procurement of search warrant.
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.
Olendan, a former inmate, allegedly lied to the court when he claimed seeing a handgun beside Espinosa's pillow and that Yap was repacking shabu when he visited the provincial jail, along with a certain Jojo, on October 28 allegedly upon the request of Yap.
In his sworn affidavit, Olendan said Yap told him that Espinosa was looking for a "trusted person" to dispose the remaining shabu in Yap's possession and that he was being mentioned by the mayor as the right person for the job.
The NBI, however, found out from his supervisor that Olendan was at the Leyte National High School in Tacloban City, some 130 kilometers away from Baybay City, the whole day of October 28 where he works as a utility personnel.
The agency also said it was impossible for Espinosa and Yap to possess firearms and illegal drugs because the last raid conducted (October 30) at the jail facility prior to the killings "yielded nothing but a few items like cellphones."
Lavin said they have a witness who said that after Espinosa was killed, a policeman wearing gloves and holding a gun entered the mayor’s cell.
“The witness said when the man went out, he was no longer carrying the gun,” Lavin said.
The NBI said there was no indication that the police operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who participated in the killing "had desisted or those who acted as look outs had prevented" the raiding team from shooting Espinosa and Yap.
"These only demonstrate their concerted efforts to perpetrate the commission of the crime," the NBI said.
At the time of the incident, the police were serving separate search warrants on Espinosa for illegal possession of firearm and on Yap for possession of illegal drugs.
But police said Espinosa and Yap allegedly put up a fight against the policemen, resulting in their deaths.
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