CIDG team leader admits shooting Espinosa

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The chief inspector, who led members of CIDG-8 in serving the search warrant on the cell of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, admits he was the one who shot the late mayor. He was relieved from his post Thursday, along with 23 other police officers.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Who shot Albuera Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa?

This was Sen. Ralph Recto's question to police officials at the Senate inquiry into the late mayor's killing Thursday.

"Hindi po ako (Not me)," said Supt. Marvin Marcos, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas (CIDG-8).

This elicited laughter from those present at the Session Hall.

Then who? Recto asked.

"Ako po yung, ang nakabaril po (I did, I was the one who shot)," Chief Inspector Leo Laraga said.

Laraga led the CIDG-8 team that served the search warrant on Espinosa's cell early morning of November 5.

The CIDG-8 team said Espinosa and the other slain inmate, Raul Yap resisted the search and shot at the police, prompting the operatives to fire back.

The Scene Of The Crime Operatives (SOCO) Medico Legal said Espinosa sustained four gunshot wounds: two on the chest and two on the abdomen.

But Laraga said Espinosa was not the "main target" of the raid, but Yap, for his illegal drug transactions inside jail.

SPO4 Juanito Duarte was the one who shot Yap, Laraga said.

Laraga and Duarte were relieved of their posts by Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa for their involvement in the police operation that led to Espinosa's killing.

In an official statement released while the Senate probe was ongoing, Dela Rosa said the 24 sacked officials "are now reassigned at the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit in Camp Crame" to face investigations by the Internal Affairs Service and the CIDG.

The order also covers the following members of CIDG-Region 8:

  • Supt. Marvin Wynn Marcos
  • Supt. Santi Noel Gaspang Matira
  • Sr. Insp. Eric Palattao Constantino
  • Sr. Insp. Deogracias Pedong Diaz III
  • Sr. Insp. Fritz Bioco Blanco
  • SPO4 Melvin Mendiola Cayobit
  • SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano Jr.
  • SPO1 Benjamin Layague Dacallos
  • PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa
  • PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibañez
  • PO2 Neil Patrimonio Centino
  • PO1 Lloyd Ortinez Ortigueza
  • PO1 Bhernard Rodriguez Orpilla
  • PO1 Kristal Jane Briones Gisma
  • PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan
  • PO1 Divine Grace Baclas Songalia

Dela Rosa also ordered the relief of six members of the Regional Maritime Unit 8:

  • Chief Insp. Calixto Cabardo Canillas Jr.
  • Insp. Lucresito Adana Candilosas
  • SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil
  • SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo
  • PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan
  • PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal

"Let me assure everyone that there will be no whitewash in the investigation," Dela Rosa said.

Also read: Lawmakers: Espinosa's death smells of extrajudicial killing, reeks of irregularities