MANILA (UPDATE) - There was conspiracy among policemen charged in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa at a sub-provincial jail in November 2016.
This was part of the findings of the Department of Justice (DOJ) which led to the indictment of respondent policemen, led by former Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 (CIDG 8) chief, Supt. Marvin Marcos, for two counts of murder.
Aside from Espinosa, another inmate at the Leyte sub-provincial jail, Raul Yap, was also shot to death by Marcos’ group who, armed with search warrants against Espinosa and Yap, arrived at the detention facility at past 4:00 am of November 5, 2016.
The policemen alleged that Espinosa and Yap were in possession of a firearm and illegal drugs, respectively.
Indicted for one count of murder for Espinosa’s killing are Marcos, Supt. Noel G. Matira, Chief Inspector Leo D. Laraga; SPO4 Melvin M. Cayobit; PO3 Johnny A. Ibañez; Senior Inspector Deogacias P. Diaz III; SPO2 Benjamin L. Dacallos; PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa; PO1 Jerlan S. Cabiyaan; Chief Inspector Calixto C. Canillas, Jr.; Senior Inspector Lucrecito A. Candilosas; SPO2 Antonio R. Docil; SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo; PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan; and PO2 Jaime P Bacsal.
Indicted for a separate count of murder for Yap’s killing are Marcos; Diaz; Dacallos; Abellanosa; Cabiyaan; Canillas; Candilosas; Cadillo; Doculan; Bacsal; SPO4 Juanito A. Duarte; PO1 Lloyd O. Ortigueza; Senior Inspector Fritz B. Blanco; PO1 Bhernard R. Orpilla; and SPO2 Antonio R. Docil.
Indicted for two counts of violation of Article 129 of the Revised Penal Code for maliciously obtaining search warrants and abuse in the service of the same are Laraga, Abellanosa, and Paul G. Olendan, the witness used by the policemen in obtaining the warrants.
Olendan was also indicted for perjury.
“[R]espondents’ collective and independent actions, that is, respondent PSI Diaz’s group securing the inner and outer perimeter of the jail facility, Teams A and B’s successfully entering the cell nos. 1 and 7 which eventually led to the killing of victims Mayor Espinosa and Mr. Yap, under the guise of implementing an alleged lawful search, and respondent PSupt. Marcos’ briefing the teams and supervising the operations from the beginning to end by closely coordinating with the group inside his car, which was parked 70-80 meters outside the facility, were concerted and cooperative.
“Their premeditated actions reek of conspiracy to commit a felony, in this case, to kill victims Mayor Espinosa and Mr. Yap,” the DOJ said in a 24-page resolution, dated March 2, 2017.
The charges against Senior Inspector Eric. P. Constantino; SPO2 Alphinor M. Serrano, Jr.; PO1 Kristal Jane B. Gisma; PO1 Divine Grace B. Songalia; and PO2 Niel P. Centino were dismissed for lack of probable cause:
The DOJ said it was not established that Constantino, Serrano, Gisma, and Songalia participated in the operation as “[t]here is want of evidence on record that they participated in the searching team.”
As for Centino, the DOJ noted that he has been on absence without official leave (AWOL) since October 5, 3016 up to the present.
RTC's ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS "IRREGULAR, UNNECESSARY, UNPROCEDURAL"
As for Basey, Samar Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Tarcelo Sabare, Jr., who issued the search warrants, the DOJ recommended that administrative charges be filed against him and provided a copy of the resolution to the Supreme Court (SC) Office of the Court Administrator for appropriate action.
“Leyte Provincial Jail is a government detention facility… respondents have ready access to the said jail facility by merely coordinating the alleged search warrant with the responsible jail administrator. Verily, the application and subsequent issuance by [Sabare] of Search Warrants Nos. 2016-11-20 and 2016-11-19 was highly irregular, unnecessary and unprocedural,” the resolution read.
The DOJ stressed that the search warrants were used by respondents to justify the operation.
“The killings are qualified by evident premeditation since the attack was well planned. The records will show that respondents craftily executed the killings under the pretense of implementing a search warrant. They planned to kill Mayor Espinosa and Mr. Yap during the pre-operation meeting before the raid… their unified act before, during and after the commission of the crime, prove respondents’
determination to kill the victims,” the resolution read.
The preliminary investigation of the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), joined by Espinosa's son, Kerwin, was conducted by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo, panel chairperson, and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas, State Prosecutor Jinky Dedumo, Assistant State Prosecutor Karla Cabel, and Prosecution Attorney Moises Acayan, members.
The panel's findings were affirmed by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Pedrito Rances, officer-in-charge of the Prosecutor General's office.
The DOJ has ordered Leyte prosecutors to handle the prosecution of the case in court.
Marcos and other police officers tagged in the murder of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., are now in police custody after a court ordered their arrest.
Marcos and the other cops are with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) - Eastern Visayas.