By Aaron B. Recuenco
Arrest warrants have been issued by a local court for Supt. Marvin Marcos and 19 other policemen from Eastern Visayas in connection with the death of Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa and Raul Yap, another inmate, four months ago while detained at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced the issuance of the arrest warrants against the 20 policemen, most of them from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of Eastern Visayas.
“There are 20 of them (subject of the arrest warrant). The arrest warrants for murder were already served. They are all accounted for,” said Dela Rosa.
He added that Marcos and his men, along with some local policemen involved in the killing of Espinosa, are currently detained at the regional police office of the PNP in Eastern Visayas.
Marcos, who was then the head of the CIDG-Eastern Visayas, figured in a controversy over the operation in Baybay City on Nov. 5 last year wherein Espinosa and Yap were killed after allegedly trying to fight off the cops who were serving a search warrant to get the gun allegedly owned by the mayor inside the jail.
Espinosa, who was among the so-called narco-politicians who surrendered to Dela Rosa after his name was mentioned by President Duterte, was then detained in jail on charges of illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms.
Controversy and suspicion
The death of Espinosa inside the Provincial Jail of Leyte and at the hands of the local CIDG men sparked suspicion that Espinosa was silenced for knowing the identifies of local policemen receiving money from drug lords.
The controversy led to a Senate investigation which later concluded that the killing of Espinosa was well-planned. Among the proofs presented during the investigation were the facts that search warrant was served in the night and that forensics policemen were called by Marcos’ men even before the death of Espinosa.
The PNP leadership also sacked Marcos and 23 other policemen involved in the operations, including those from the Maritime Group.
Those named in the arrest warrant in connection with Espinosa’s death are: Marcos; his deputy Supt. Santi Noel Matira; Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, the team leader who admitted to shooting Espinosa; Chief Inspector Calixto Canillas Jr., head of the Maritime Group in Eastern Visayas, the unit tapped to reinforce the CIDG; his deputy Inspector Lucrecito Candilosas; SPO4 Melvin Cayubit SPO2 Benjamin Dacallos SPO2 Antonio Docil; SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo; PO3 Johnny Ibanez; PO3 Norman Abellanosa; PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan; PO2 Jaime Bacsal; and PO1 Jerlan Cabiyaan.
Marcos, Canillas, Candilosas, Dacallos, Docil, Cadilo, Abellanosa, Doculan and Bacsal were also named respondents in the case against Yap.
Other cops charged in connection with the death of Yap were Senior Inspector Deogracias Diaz, Senior Inspector Fritz Blanco, SPO4 Juanito Duarte, PO1 Lloyd Ortigueza, and PO1 Bhernard Orpilla.
Five personnel of the local Maritime Group were also charged, the rest are from the CIDG-Eastern Visayas.
All the policemen were immediately subjected to booking procedures, said Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, director of the Eastern Visayas regional police. He said the arrest warrants were dated March 16.
“Upon completion of the booking procedures, the arrest warrants will be returned to the court and corresponding commitment order is expected to be issued,” said Beltejar.
Dela Rosa also revealed that he has tasked the Internal Affairs Service to submit its recommendation on the administrative charges against Marcos and his men by March 31.
“The timeline that we are working with the IAS is up to March 31, to come up with a final recommendation of their case,” said Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa said it would be better if the group of Marcos is detained in Eastern Visayas since that is where the criminal charges were filed. Marcos and his men were earlier ordered to be detained at Camp Crame but it was later decided that they be detained in Eastern Visayas to ensure their attendance to court hearings.
“They are just waiting court orders on where they would be detained,” said Dela Rosa.
For the search warrants
Apart from the murder indictment, the DOJ also recommended the indictment of Paul Oledan, Laraga, and Abellanosa for two counts of violation of Article 129 of the Revised Penal Code for search warrants maliciously obtained and abuse of service of those legally obtained.
The DOJ also recommended “the filing of the appropriate administrative complaint against Judge Tarcelo A. Sabare, the Executive Judge, Basey, Samar Regional Trial Court, Branch 30” for issuing the search warrants that led to the police operation against Espinosa. (With a report from Jeffrey G. Damicog)
Dismissed as repondents
On the other hand, the DOJ dismissed as respondents in the case Senior Inspector Eric Constantino, SPO2 Alhinor Serrano Jr., PO1 Kristal Jane Gisma, PO1 Divine Grace Songalia, and PO2 Niel Centino for lack of probable cause.
The 24-page DOJ resolution was signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo, Olivia Torrevillas, Assistant State Prosecutor Jinky Dedumo, Karla Cabel, and Prosecution Attorney Moises Acayan.
The NBI filed on Dec. 2 the complaint before the DOJ after conducting an investigation and concluded that Espinosa and Yap were killed in a rubout and not a shootout at their cells at the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City, Leyte on November 5. (With a report from Jeffrey G. Damicog)