NBI: Espinosa killing a rubout

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In their report, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said late Abuara Mayor Rolando Espinosa exchanged fire with the police during a raid in Leyte provincial jail.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The National Bureau Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday announced the results of its probe into the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Ronaldo Espinosa inside the provincial jail.

According to the NBI, it was a rubout — not a shootout.

This runs opposite to the claims of the police raiding team — and the NBI is standing by its findings.

"We mantain it was a rubout. There was a criminal intent. Pumunta talaga doon para patayin si Espinosa [They really went there to kill Espinosa]," NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said.

Investigators said several witnesses disputed the claim of a shootout between Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Eastern Visayas members and inmates Espinosa and Raul Yap.

Inmate Donald Palermo said he saw a policeman wearing sanitary gloves and holding a short firearm entering Espinosa's cell. He was no longer holding the gun when he left the premises.

While the policeman has yet to be identified, Lavin said their forensics team also ruled out the shootout angle.

"There are strong indications na walang putol papunta towards the direction of the door. If there was a shootout dapat ang putok ni Mayor Espinosa kung pumutok siya towards the direction of the door," Lavin said.

[Translation: There are strong indications that there was no obstruction going towards the direction of the door.  If there was a shootout, the shot from Mayor Espinosa should have been towards the direction of the door.]

The NBI also noted, the shakedown or Oplan Galugad at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay town on October 30 to search for supposed firearms and drugs, only yielded a few items like mobile phones.

Also read: Policemen tagged in killing of Mayor Espinosa under restrictive custody

The NBI pointed out that it's impossible for Espinosa and Yap to sneak in firearms and drugs on the eve of serving the search warrants.

On the powder nitrates found on Espinosa, Lavin said a gun could have been placed in the victim's hand and fired to make it appear that he fought back.

"Theoretically pwedeng lagyan or pwedeng ipaputok then it would have powder nitrates on the firing or 'yung ginamit na... kamay na ginamit," Lavin said. [Theoretically, a shot could have been fired so it would have powder nitrates on the hand used.]

CIDG officials to face multiple murder raps

The NBI says the application for a search warrant was based on the false statement of witness and former inmate Paul Olendan.

According to probers, Olendan's supposed testimony that he entered the facility never really happened.

"We were able to establish that indeed, and in fact, Olendan did not go inside the, or anywhere near the sub-provincial jail on October 28. He was in Tacloban City around 130 kilometers from Baybay," Lavin told the media.

NBI explained Olendan reported to the school where he worked the day he allegedly saw and met Espinosa and Yap. His daily time record and biometrics data showed his attendance at work.

With this, the NBI has recommended the filing of multiple murder charges against 24 CIDG officials and personnel in Tacloban, including Superintendent Marvin Wynn Marcos.

Three were also found maliciously obtaining a search warrant. While Olendan is facing a perjury case.

Also read: Duterte refuses to explain Supt. Marcos' reinstatement