CEBU CITY (Updated) -- Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., father of the alleged Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin, was killed inside his detention cell in Baybay City, Leyte, around 4 a.m. Saturday.
According to initial report forwarded to SunStar by Albuera Police Chief Jovie Espenido, Espinosa was killed when elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), led by Police Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, implemented a search warrant against him and inmate Raul Yap at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Barangay Hipusngo, Baybay City.
Espenido said Espinosa and Yap were shot dead by the CIDG personnel after they allegedly resisted.
The warrant served against Espinosa was for violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act of 2013, while that of Yap was for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
The search warrants were issued by Judge Tarcelo Sabarre of Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Basey, Samar.
Malacañang has ordered an immediate investigation on Espinosa's death inside the jail.
"Right now, it’s really under investigation so we don’t have actual commentary regarding that," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a radio interview with state-run dzRB.
Abella, however, refused to comment, when asked if the Palace found the gunning down of public officials linked to illegal drug trade and other personalities "suspicious."
"We don't have comment regarding that – whether it's suspicious or not," the presidential spokesperson said.
Reports by the Philippine National Police showed that 1,725 drug personalities have been killed, 31,629 arrested, and 751,703 surrendered as of October 26.
Espinosa and his son, Kerwin, were among the drug personalities named by President Rodrigo Duterte. The President even gave them an ultimatum to surrender. The mayor heeded Duterte's call.
Espinosa was arrested last month for illegal drugs possession. The arrest was carried out by the CIDG operatives.
Kerwin, on the other hand, was nabbed last October 17 in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates days after his father’s arrest. The younger Espinosa is still under the custody of the Interpol. (Ricky J. Bautista/Ruth Abbey Gita/VLA/Sunnex)