THE National Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday said it has recommended murder and perjury charges against police involved in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and inmate Raul Yap inside a provincial prison on November 5, saying their dawn raid was a rubout.
The recommendation was transmitted to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on December 2 but made public only Tuesday.
Among those identified for the filing of murder charges was Supt. Marvin Marcos, the head of the Region 8 Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who led the November 5 raid, and who President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered reinstated on the same day he was relieved over allegations that he accepted drug payoffs.
The President on Monday said he did not have to explain why he ordered Marcos reinstated, saying that as chief executive, he could modify, amend or revoke any order.
“I do not have to explain to you, the whole republic and the critics, why I made the order [for Marcos to be reinstated],” Duterte said Monday, during the traditional lighting of Christmas tree at Malacanang.
“What is happening now, well, of course, I am the number one. So, they are questioning my motive… Now, they are assuming that maybe I knew about the operation and [that] I ordered his [Espinosa’s] death,” the President said.
“Whatever the reason be, that’s my discretion. I promised the police and the military: Do your duty, go out and find for these criminals, arrest them if possible. But if they offer violent resistance, and you think that your life is in danger, kill them. And that is my order until now.”
He also said he believed the police when they said the late mayor had resisted arrest and shot at them first from his jail cell.
Duterte also told his critics to go to the streets and demonstrate if they want.
“So if you want to do something about it fine. You want to demonstrate? I give you the streets 365 days a year 30 days in a month seven days, including Sundays, you can demonstrate. Just do not do violent things,” he said.
In its report to the Justice Department, NBI also recommended the filing of charges against Police Chief Insp. Leo Diao Laraga, Police Officer 3 Norman T. Abellanosa and Paul Olendan, for the search warrant “maliciously obtained” and for violations of the Revised Penal Code.
Citing testimony by witnesses who disputed the CIDG’s claim that they shot it out with Espinosa and Yap, the NBI concluded that their deaths were the result of a rubout.
The NBI also noted that an earlier operation conducted on October 30 had made a thorough search of the jail, precisely to rid the premises of contraband, including firearms and illegal drugs, but found only a few items such as cellphones.
It was, therefore impossible for Espinosa and Yap to possess these firearms and illegal drugs inside their respective cells on the night of the supposed implementation of the search warrants, the NBI said in its report.
The NBI also said the search warrant used by the raiding team was maliciously obtained because it was based on a perjured affidavit from Olendan, who claimed he went to Baybay City to visit Yap in jail, when records showed he was at the Leyte National High School, where he works as a utility personnel.
“From the pieces of evidence, the NBI concluded it is patently clear that the acts of the CIDG 8 operatives showed a community of purpose or an implied conspiracy,” the NBI report said.
“There was unison in their purpose and action, signifying that they were all moved by a single criminal intent,” the NBI said. “Furthermore, there is no indication that the police operatives who participated in the killing had desisted or those who acted as lookouts had prevented the raiding team from shooting the victims.
Recommended charged for multiple murder are PSUPT Marvin Wynn Marcos, PSUPT Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, PCINSP Leo Daio Laraga, SI Deogracia Pedong Diaz, SI Fritz Bioco Blanco, SPO4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, SPO4 Eric Palattao Constantino, SPO2 Benjamin Layague Dacallos, SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano, Jr., PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 Niel Patrimonio Centino, PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpilla, PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan, Cristal Jane Briones Gisma, Divine Grace Baclas Songalia, all assigned at CIDG Regional Office No. 08, Port Area, Tacloban City as well as PCINSP Calixto Cabardo Canillas, Jr., PINSP Lucresito Adana Candelosas, SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan, and PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal, all assigned at Regional Maritime Unit 8 Port Area, Tacloban City.
On Thursday, Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa admitted that “a higher official” and his “kumpare in Malacañang” ordered him to reinstate Marcos, who was relieved for allegedly accepting payoffs from self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, son of the late Albuera mayor. Dela Rosa, however, would not say who the caller was.
On Friday, Duterte admitted that he was the one who made the order, saying he was doing “an investigative job.”
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