THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed murder charges against 24 members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) allegedly responsible for the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
In a press conference on Tuesday, NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said that the bureau filed charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday against the CIDG-Eastern Visayas raiding team led by Police Superintendent Marvin Wynn Marcos.
Also charged were Police Superintendent Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, Police Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, Senior Inspector Deogracia Pedong Diaz, Senior Inspector Fritz Bioco Blanco, SPO4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, SPO4 Eric Palattao Constantino, SPO2 Banjamin Layague Dacallos, SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano Jr., PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 Niel Patrimono Santino, PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpill, PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan, Cristal Jane Briones Gisma, and Divine Grace Baclas Songalia, all assigned at the CIDG Regional Office.
The officers assigned at the Regional Maritime Unit 8 Port Area, Tacloban City, who joined the raid -- Police Inspector Calixto Cabardo Canillas Jr., Police Inspector Lucresito Adana Candelosas, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan and PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bascal -- were also included as respondents in the complaint-affidavit.
The NBI also filed additional charges against Laraga, Abellanosa and former inmate Paul Olendan for conspiring to obtain the search warrant against Espinosa and another slain inmate Raul Yap.
Former inmate Olendan was also slapped with perjury charges for saying under oath that he saw Yap repacking shabu and Espinosa possessing a gun inside the prison, the basis for the issuance of the search warrant against the two inmates and the raid of the CIDG operative.
According to the NBI, witnesses testified that the testimonies of Olendan before the lower court are all lies.
Lavin said the co-workers of Olendan told the investigating team that the former inmate was seen at the Leyte Provincial High School, where he was working on October 28, the day he said he saw the inmates allegedly possessing illegal contraband inside the Baybay, Leyte Provincial Jail.
"We are able to establish that Paul did not go near the jail in October 28...This was testified to by his co-workers. Daily time record showed na pumasok siya nung October 28," Lavin said.
Lavin added that Olendan's name was not listed on the log book of the provincial jail.
"The jail guard on duty testified na hindi siya (Olendan) pumasok 'dun. Wala siya sa log book (He was not in the log book. He was not there)," said Lavin.
'Rub out not shootout'
In the findings of the NBI, it disputed the claims of the CIDG that a shootout erupted between the raiding team and the late mayor.
"The NBI concluded that the testimonies of several witnesses had disputed the claim of an alleged shootout between the CIDG operatives and inmates Mayor Espinosa and Raul Yap but a rub out," Lavin said.
According to Lavin, the inmates in the jail testified that there were no exchange of shots between Espinosa and the raiding team.
The inmates also said they heard the mayor during the rub out saying: "Huwag niyo ako lagyan, maawa kayo, wala akong ganiyan."
The statement of the inmates, according to Lavin, also matched the findings of the forensics team, saying that a firefight did not occur.
"Kung may firefight, hindi makakalayo sa kwarto, dun lang siya (Espinosa) dapat sa pinto. Dapat yung direction ng fire toward the direction of the intruders," Lavin said.
Based on the NBI examination, there was no bullet marking found outside Espinosa's cell or in the line of fire, if there was a shootout.
"This is a premeditated killing. Defenseless at helpless and victim dito," added Lavin.
Gun was planted
An inmate said there was an operative who entered the jail with gloves and gun and exited the prison facility without the firearm, in the day the mayor was killed.
"May nag-testify na inmate na may isang pumasok na nakagloves at may dalang baril paglabas, wala ng dalang baril," Lavin said, adding that the inmate failed to identify the officer.
Lavin said the NBI believes that the CIDG operatives conspired and plotted the killing of Espinosa.
"Naniniwala kaming may criminal intent. May pakay sila sa pagpatay kay Espinosa at Yap...Sa aming paniniwala, may conspiracy at sabwatan dito," he said.
The late Mayor Espinosa, the father of Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, and Yap were killed inside their jail cell on November 5.
The anomalous killing is now the subject of investigation on extra judicial killings being conduced by the Senate. (Sunnex)