Sen. Risa Hontiveros called the actions of the Duterte government the “height of impunity.”
By Yuji Vincent Gonzales
Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Sunday called on the Duterte administration to fast-track the investigation of the killing of detained Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and another inmate in the Leyte Sub Provincial Jail, which she called as the “height of impunity.”
Hontiveros urged the government to form an “independent inter-agency task force to conduct a swift and thorough investigation of this disturbing incident.”
“The killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. inside his cell is awfully unsettling. That Espinosa was brazenly shot dead behind bars is the height of impunity,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
Senator Risa Hontiveros INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES
“The government must get to the bottom of this issue and answer the following questions: Was there foul play behind the mayor’s death? Why was a warrant served at 4:00 am to someone who is already behind bars and without proper coordination with jail guards? Why was the hard drive of the jail’s CCTV cameras removed? Was there poor jail management?” she added.
According to the incident report, Espinosa and one Raul Yap were killed in a predawn firefight with Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Operatives (CIDG) who were serving them search warrants for firearms and illegal drugs. Police said the two fought it out with them, which allegedly triggered the clash.
But Hontiveros said the public should be more “scrutinizing and critical” and should not easily believe the “lackadaisical nanlaban narrative on all drug-related deaths.”
“I believe the majority of the police force is honest and trustworthy. Yet, the PNP, as an institution, cannot possibly earn the public’s trust and ease their fears if incidents like this happen in its very backyard. It also cannot realize security sector reforms under such a climate,” she said.
“The Duterte government cannot convince the public that the country is safer now if the police force’s image is continuously tarnished by cases of human rights violations and other abuses,” Hontiveros added.
The lady senator also backed the call of Sen. Panfilo Lacson to resume the Senate inquiry into the spate of killings in the country following Espinosa’s slay, which the latter said was “a clear case of EJK.”
“I also support the call to resume the Senate’s investigation on extrajudicial killings triggered by Espinosa’s death. At a time when people are searching for answers behind the unresolved cases of EJKs, and when President Duterte himself attested to their existence, the Senate must meet the public’s growing expectation for truth and accountability,” Hontiveros said.
“For the sake of our own humanity and dignity, we must guarantee that democracy, due process, and fair treatment through an impartial judicial system are protected. We must not exchange one terror for another. We must ensure that our quest for justice does not lead to more injustices,” she added. JE/rga
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