Robredo: Espinosa's death puts police integrity into question

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is among the government officials expressing disbelief over the death of detained Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, and for the Vice President, the killing also casts doubt on the police force.

"Given the peculiar context, this killing raises a lot of questions on the official accounts of [the] CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group)," said Robredo in a statement on Monday, November 7. "The unlawful event even puts into question the integrity of the institution."

Espinosa was killed inside his prison cell at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City after he and fellow detainee Raul Yap reportedly engaged in a shootout with the police early Saturday morning, November 5.

The CIDG was set to serve a search warrant to the mayor and Yap for illegal possession of firearms. Police claimed, however, that the two fired at them.

Espinosa is the second mayor linked to drugs killed in less than two weeks, following Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa earlier said there would be no cover-up in the probe into Espinosa's death.

"Wala tayong itatago. Kung mayroon silang kasalanang ginawa, papanagutan nila 'yan," Dela Rosa had said.

(We won't hide anything. If they did something wrong, they will have to answer for it.)

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has also instructed the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to conduct an investigation, while the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Senate will have separate probes as well.

Robredo urged authorities to ensure a "thorough, fair, and swift" investigation.

"We cannot afford the further erosion of our people's trust in our justice system if those who take the law into their own hands are not found and prosecuted," she said.

"We hope that this is not an indication of a nation failing to uphold the rule of law and a sovereign unable to protect its own citizens. We need to reinforce the trust of the people in our judicial system." – 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.