Gordon to call for probe into Espinosa killing

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Richard J. Gordon is filing a resolution calling for a Senate probe into the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr and drug suspect Raul Yap after they were killed in an alleged shootout inside the Baybay City Provincial Jail early Saturday morning, November 5.

Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Gordon said he would file the resolution after he submits the committee report on the recently concluded investigation on recent and rampant killings. The probe was completed just before the Senate went into a two-week recess starting October 22.

In a press statement, Gordon said, “I will talk to Sen. (Panfilo) Lacson, who has expressed intention to seek the resumption of our investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings following the killing of Mayor Espinosa. We will have to conduct a separate investigation on this case because we have wrapped up the previous investigation and the committee report is ready for submission.” 

Lacson, former chief of the Philippine National Police, had questioned how a prisoner inside a cell "could even think of fighting back against police officers serving a warrant," and why the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), instead of court personnel, served the warrant.

Members of the CIDG could have coordinated with the warden instead of personally serving the warrant. 

"Now, I dare them to answer these questions and more in order to convince me to believe their story," Lacson said.

Reports said CIDG operatives from Region 8 killed Espinosa and Yap while serving search warrants at the provincial jail. The two victims allegedly fired guns at the cops.

2nd dead mayor

Gordon himself had earlier expressed alarm too over Espinosa’s killing, saying it is a dagger in the heart of the criminal justice system as it appears that even those who are in the custody of the law are no longer safe.

In his press statement, Gordon asked the police to investigate the incident and prevent killings, especially of those already arrested and detained. “It is in the public interest to dispel speculations as well as to allay fear among our people. The police must show that it is responsible and capable of protecting its citizens and delivering justice to them under the rule of law.” 

Espinosa had surrendered to the PNP in August after he was named as being part of a list of government officials allegedly involved in illegal drugs. He surrendered a day after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a "shoot on sight" order should Espinosa resist arrest and refuse to surrender within 24 hours.

Espinosa left police custody and returned to work, but was arrested last October 5 over illegal drug and weapons charges. He is the father of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, who was arrested in Abu Dhabi last month. Kerwin remains in the custody of the Interpol and is still detained in Abu Dhabi.

Espinosa is the second mayor, under the Duterte administration, to be killed after being tagged in the illegal drug trade. On October 28, Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom was killed along with 9 others after an anti-illegal drug operation in Makilala, Cotabato.

Known as "Mayor Pink", Dimaukom was also on Duterte's drug list. – Rappler.com