NINETEEN police officers were ordered arrested for their involvement in the killing of former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa revealed Monday.
He said they received over the weekend the arrest warrant issued on March 16 by Carlos O. Arguelles, Presiding Judge of Branch 14, Baybay, Leyte Regional Trial Court RTC against Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 director, and 19 others.
Others who were also ordered arrested are Superintendent Santi Noel Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, Senior Police Officer 4 (SPO) Melvin Cayobit, PO3 Johnny Ibañez, Chief Inspector Calixto Canillas Jr., SPO4 Juanito Duarte, PO1 Lloyd Ortigueza, Senior Inspector Fritz Blanco, PO1 Bhernard Orpilla, Senior Inspector Deogracias Diaz III, SPO2 Benjamin Dacallos, PO3 Norman Abellañosa, PO1 Jerlan Cabiyaan, Inspector Lucrecito Candilosas, SPO2 Antonio Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo, PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan, and PO2 Jaime Bacsal.
"Lumabas na ang warrant of arrest for murder.  lahat sila accounted na sa CIDG Region 8," said Dela Rosa.
"Ire-return ang warrant. Bahala na ang court kung saan sila ikukulong. Itong weekend lumabas ang warrant," he added.
Meanwhile, Police Regional Office 8 Director Chief Superintendent Elmer Beltejar said the respondents who voluntarily surrendered are currently undergoing booking procedure at the CIDG regional unit. However, he did not reveal which of the suspects voluntarily turned themselves in to authorities.
After the booking procedure, they will be presented to the court for the return of the warrant and await for the issuance of the commitment order to identify where the police officers will be detained.
Marcos oversaw the service of search warrant against Espinosa inside his detention cell in the Leyte sub-provincial jail on November 5.
The operation, however, led to the killing of Espinosa after he allegedly fired shots against the police officers.
On the joint report of the Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs and justice and human rights released on March 12, it said the killing of Espinosa was “premeditated” by those who conducted the operation.
It cited the accounts of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, the son of the late Mayor, who said that his father was intentionally killed for him not to be able to reveal the illegal drug involvement of Marcos, Chief Inspector Leo Laraga and Superintendent Santi Noel Matira.
Laraga and Matira served as the team leaders of the November 5 operations.
During the Senate hearing on the killing of Espinosa, the younger Espinosa said Marcos, Laraga and Matira were receiving payola from him for the protection of his illegal drug operations. (SunStar Philippines)