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3 CIDG officials submit selves to IAS investigation over Mayor Espinosa’ death

CIDG Region 8 director Superintendent Marvin Marcos (L) and Chief Inspector Leo Laraga (R) attend a Senate hearing investigating the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa. (Jamin Verde/
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MANILA, Philippines - Three officials of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in Eastern Visayas have submitted themselves for investigation to the PNP's Internal Affairs Service (IAS) over the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

Espinosa and another inmate, Raul Yap, were killed on November 5 inside their cells at the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City, Leyte in an alleged shootout with a team of the CIDG Region 8 which claimed it was serving search warrants on Espinosa and Yap for illegal firearms.

CIDG Region 8 director Superintendent Marvin Marcos, Supt. Santi Noel Matira and Chief Inspector Leo Laraga presented themselves before IAS deputy inspector general Chief Supt. Leo Angelo Leuterio after the PNP-IAS earlier gave them at least five days to submit their affidavit regarding the incident.

Matira was the supervisor of the raiding team that entered Espinosa's cell while Laraga served as team leader and the officer who shot Espinosa.

Immediately after the incident, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa ordered the three police officers, including 15 other members of CIDG Region 8 who were involved in Espinosa’s death, to be placed under restrictive custody effective November 24.

“We don't want that at the end of the day, when we come up with the decision, it will be dismissed on a technicality because we did not follow procedural due process," Leuterio said.

As part of due process in their investigation, Leuterio added that the officers concerned should be given the chance to explain their side.

"We are talking about the lives of the policemen here. I think they deserve due process. It must be impartial, objective. We are not crying for blood here. We are administering justice, hindi naman ito yung parang [this investigation is not like] revenge justice," Leuterio said.

After the hearings, Leuterio said the IAS will submit its recommendation to Dela Rosa.

"He is the chief PNP; the law gives him the authority as disciplinary authority ng PNP," Leuterio pointed out.

While it usually takes 90 days to resolve an administrative case, Leuterio said they can submit their recommendations in a month as long as they have completed gathering evidence and witnesses.

Leuterio said the IAS will also ask for minutes of the Senate hearing last Wednesday (Nov. 23) to get the names of police personnel mentioned by Espinosa's son, suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.