MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police started on Monday multiple investigations into the involvement of personnel of the Criminal Investigative and Detection Group (CIDG) in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in his jail cell in Leyte.
Police Deputy Director General Fransisco Uyami Jr. said the CIDG team led by Chief Inspector Leo Laraga will be subject to the “standard procedure” of collecting facts and circumstances in the police killing of Espinosa, and another inmate Raul Yap, at the Leyte Sub Provincial Jail in Baybay City.
According to police accounts, Espinosa and Yap were shot dead while resisting arrest upon the serving of warrants. The CIDG had an alleged shootout with both men.
Police Regional Office 8 chief Superintendent Elmer Beltejar also formed a panel looking into the incident, condemned as an extrajudicial killing by critics.
A separate probe by Regional Affairs Service 9 is also set to be conducted.
“The PNP assures the public that necessary sanctions will be charged on any personnel who will be found violating the standard operational procedure during the serving of arrest warrants,” Uyami said in a statement.
Another account, however, says Espinosa pleaded for his life as four police escorts of the CIDG team stood by.
“Ayaw gyud ko ninyo plantere, sir, wa ko armas nga gitago (Please do not plant evidence sir, I’m not hiding any firearms),” Espinosa was heard saying before gunshots were heard.
Closed circuit television footage of what the CIDG team claimed was an armed encounter with Espinosa and Yap is missing.
Uyami said reports reaching the PNP headquarters in Quezon City claim that sachets of shabu were found inside the cells of Espinosa and Yap. Scene of the Crime Operatives also recovered handguns in the prison quarters, Uyami said.
The PNP grounded the CIDG team yesterday pending an investigation of the killing.
Espinosa was detained at the Baybay City jail for illegal possession of firearms. Months ago, he surrendered to the police when his name, along with his son Kerwin’s, was tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as among the top drug personalities in the country.
Meanwhile, Yap was serving warrant for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
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