Espinosa slay case: DOJ downgrades murder case to homicide

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(CNN Philippines, June 9) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) downgraded murder charges to homicide against the suspects involved in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

DOJ Undersecretary Reynante Orceo came out with the resolution dated June 2.

Baybay, Leyte Regional Trial Court Branch 14 Judge Carlos Arguelles said based on the DOJ resolution, there's no evidence of premeditation as the witnesses failed to substantiate through their testimonies that there was a plan to kill the victims.

There was also no abuse of superior strength in the conduct of the police operation inside the Baybay City Sub-provincial Jail when the CIDG personnel served the search warrant to Espinosa, according to the resolution.

The police officers involved in the crime include former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 (CIDG-8) head Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other suspects.

The new resolution is in contrast with the initial DOJ resolution indicting the CIDG personnel with murder.

Meanwhile, Arguelles rescheduled the suspects' arraignment to June 21. This is the third postponement of their arraignment.

Arguelles' decision follows the filing of a motion for a leave of court by the prosecution panel led by Leyte Provincial Prosecutor Ma. Arlene Huñamayor-Cordovez.

The court will resolve the issue on June 14, whether it will continue with the trial on murder charges or downgrade it to homice as decided by the DOJ.