FILE PHOTO: Albuera Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr
The killing of Albuera Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. while in detention at Baybay sub-provincial jail on November 5, 2016 is a clear case of abuse of power by policemen.
This is one of the conclusions drawn from the hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous and Justice and Human Rights last year.
Senator Panfilo Lacson released a 34-page committee report detailing how the Espinosa slay case was a premeditated and planned by PNP-CIDG Region 8, headed by PSupt. Marvin Marcos, Supt Noel Matira and Chief Insp. Leo Laraga.
12 senators signed the committee report, expressing their agreement on the said conclusions. Committee chair, Sen. Panfilo Lacson sponsored the report on the floor on Monday.
“Hindi po nanlaban si Mayor Espinosa. Mayor Espinosa and his willingness to cooperate to provide information on the personalities involved in the acts of drug trade was silenced by individuals who want their participation concealed,” Senator Lacson said.
Lacon said it appears that these policemen were trying to clean up possible tracks that might reveal their involvement in the Espinosa drug trade.
The report also indicated that the Espinosa slay might not be an isolated case, because other inmates who were also involved in the drug trade in Leyte named Edgar Allan Alvares and Fernando Balagbis, were also killed while in detention.
The senators believe that there was planting of evidence inside Espinosa’s cell to justify the need for a search warrant.
Even judges from Eastern Visayas should also be held liable for issuing search warrants on prison facilities that are outside their jurisdictions.
“The Supreme Court should remind the lower courts to exercise caution in exercising issuance of search warrants, in adherence to the existing laws that the judges should personally examine the applicant and witnesses,” Lacson added.
The Senate advises the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite its investigation and recommend the filing of charges against those who should be held liable.
Moreover, it advises the President to refrain from micro-managing and should trust his appointees, including PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa.
“Kasama sa recommendation namin na dapat iyong mga day to day operation ng PNP (We recommend that day to day operation of PNP) like administrative action being taken by the PNP Chief, or any commander by that matter, dapat hindi mina-micromanage ng Commander-in-Chief (should not be micro-managed by the Commander-in-Chief),” Lacson said. “Kung natuloy ang relief nila Marcos, et al hindi siguro namatay iyong dalawa sa selda di ba (If the relief of Marcos, et al had pushed through, those two [Espinosa and Yap] would not have been killed in their cells, right) ?”
The PNP Chief meanwhile defended the President and said that he has given him authority to decide on matters as the commander of the police force.
However, he also recognizes that he cannot be totally independent, saying he is still under the executive branch.
“He is a hands-on leader but he is not a micro-manager… as to the crucial decisions about what to do in a particular issue, ang sasabihin niya sa akin ay, ‘bahala ka nang mag-decide, you are the commander,” PDG Ronald dela Rosa said.
While the committee report points to those who should be liable for killing Espinosa, Lacson reiterated that it should be the court that should determine the resolution of the case. – Joyce Balancio | UNTV News & Rescue
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