Espinosa lying down when shot? Possible, says PNP medic


Posted at Nov 10 2016 05:10 PM

Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte lies dead inside his cell at the Baybay City Sub Provincial Jail. Photo courtesy of the CIDG Region 8.

MANILA – A medico-legal officer on Thursday shared his findings on how slain Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa may have been killed inside the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail in Leyte.

Chief Supt. Benjamin Lara, medico-legal of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, said Espinosa was either standing or lying down when he was shot.

Lara said Espinosa was fired at four times, with three of the bullets ending up lodged in his body and only one exiting it. He said the slain mayor sustained two gunshot wounds in the chest and two in the abdominal region.

“All four points of entry on the front of the body of the victim, except for one, had an upward trajectory,” Lara said in a Senate hearing.

Lara said one of Espinosa’s gunshot wounds showed the bullet entering his sternal region (chest) in an upward motion, ending at the back portion of his body, near the wing bone.

“In this case, there are two possible positions for the victim and the assailant,” Lara said.

Lara said Espinosa could have been standing when he was shot. But if this is the case, “the tip of the barrel of the gun should be at a point lower than the point of entry of the body of the victim.”

“This would mean that the victim was on an elevated position relative to the assailant,” he said.

The other possibility, Lara said, is that "the assailant was standing and the victim was lying down."

Lara said it could not yet determined whether Espinosa was shot at close range or otherwise.

“There were no markings on the body of the victim that may indicate that this was a close range or intermediate range type of gunshot wound,” Lara explained.

“The victim was wearing clothing at the time of death, and so what I did was I recovered the upper garment of the victim and I submitted it to crime laboratory to our office in Ormoc City for examination for presence of gun powder residue. From the results, we can deduce whether or not this is a close range or intermediate range type of gunshot wound.”

Lara also declined to answer whether only one gun was used in shooting down Espinosa.

"I would like to defer from answering that question. I'm not a ballistician. That is not my expertise," he said.

Espinosa was shot dead before dawn on November 5 when operatives from the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was supposed to serve a search warrant at the detention cell of the mayor in Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail in Leyte.