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Warrants out vs cops in Mayor Espinosa slay - PNP chief

Photo from PNP
The online news portal of TV5

(UPDATE 2 - 7:26 p.m.) MANILA , Philippines -  A court has already issued arrest warrants on Supt. Marvin Marcos and 19 other police officers accused of summarily killing Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., inside his jail on November 5, 2016, the Philippine National Police chief said Monday.

Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa revealed this after Monday’s flag raising in Camp Crame, the PNP's national headquarters.

"Lumabas na ang warrant of arrest for murder. Twenty lahat sila, accounted na sa CIDG Region 8," Dela Rosa said in the press briefing after the flag rites, referring to the 20 police officers who have been in the custody of the CIDG Eastern Visayas office.

The accused police officers have surrendered to their superior officers, PNP spokesman, Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said. The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Eastern Visayas had completed the booking procedures.

Two warrants of arrests were issued by Judge Carlos Arguelles of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 14 of Baybay City in Leyte against the 19 police officers led by Marcos, the former head of the CIDG in Eastern Visayas last March 16, 2017.

Also ordered arrested for murder were Supt. Santi Noel Matira, Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, SPO4 Melvin Cayobit, PO3 Johnny  Ibañez, Chief Insp. Calixto Canillas Jr., SPO4 Juanito Duarte, PO1 Lloyd Ortigueza, Senior Insp. Fritz Blanco, PO1 Bhernard Orpilla;

Senior Insp. Deogacias Diaz III, SPO2 Benjamin Dacallos, PO3 Norman Abellanosa, PO1 Jerlan Cabiyaan, Inspector Lucrecito Candilosas, SPO2 Antonio Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo, PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan, and PO2 Jaime P. Bacsal.

Carlos quoted Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, director of the Eastern Visayas Police Regional Office as saying the respondents are now undergoing booking procedure at the CIDG Regional Unit after they voluntarily submitted themselves for accounting and investigation.

The PNP spokesman said that once the booking procedures - fingerprinting, documentation, mugshot and medical examination - are completed, the Warrants of Arrest will be returned to the RTC Branch 14. The court will in turn issue a commitment order to direct authorities to where the accused are to be detained while their trial runs.

Killed in jail

Mayor Espinosa Sr. and and co-detainee Raul Yap, also a drug suspect, were killed in what the police earlier claimed was a shootout inside the Baybay City Sub-provincial Jail at dawn of November 5, 2016.

Men of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 under Supt. Marcos were at the jail ostensibly to serve search warrants on the two detainees for separate cases, but, the cops alleged, the two men fired at the raiders, who were forced to shoot back.

A Senate inquiry led by former PNP chief now senator Panfilo Lacson concluded last week, however, that details surfaced at their hearings showed the killing of Espinosa was planned and carried out with all bases covered: starting from the securing of search warrants from "friendly" judges in order to justify the presence of the cops. The timeline pieced together by the Lacson committee also indicated the serious gaps in the testimony of Marcos and his men.