Police ensure safety of Espinosa family after case downgrade

THE Leyte Police Provincial Office on Wednesday, June 14, assured the safety of the family of slain Albuera town mayor after the Department of Justice (DOJ) downgraded the murder case filed against the cops, who raided the prison cell of the local chief executive.

Senior Superintendent Norberto Tuazon said that two police officers had been assigned to secure Rolando Espinosa’s family since late last year.

“Definitely, they are well-secured. We have been renewing monthly the letter order for the provision of security personnel,” Tuazon said.

The Espinosa family expressed fear for their safety now that the two counts of murder case against the accused police officers have been downgraded according to their lawyers.

The two policemen, according to Tuazon, are closely guarding the family 24 hours a day.

The family sought for protection from the Philippine National Police (PNP) after receiving threats after the patriarch’s death.

The DOJ, in its May 29 resolution, downgraded the murder case filed against Superintendent Marvin Marcos and 18 other Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) personnel into homicide since there are no evidence that the crime was well-planned.

The DOJ added that Espinosa and another inmate Raul Yap were tested positive of gunpowder, confirming the claims of the police that the two inmates fought back during the pre-dawn raid on November 5, 2016.

The new decision reversed the DOJ’s March 2 resolution that the police plotted the killing of the mayor linked to illegal drugs inside Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said he respects the decision of the DOJ to downgrade the case.

Speaking to reporters, Petilla briefly expressed his reaction to the issue saying that he’s not a lawyer and not familiar with the details of the case.

“If that is from our justice system, we have to respect the decision,” Petilla said.

Charged for the killing of Espinosa are the following: Superintendent Marvin Marcos Sr., Inspector Deogracia Pedong Diaz III, Chief Inspector Calixto Canillas Jr., Inspector Lucresito Candelosas, Senior Police Officers (SPO) 2 Benjamin Dacallos and Antonio Docil, SPO 1 Mark Christian Cadilo, Police Office (PO) 3 Norman Abellanosa, POs 2 John Ruel Doculan and Jaime Bacsal, PO1 Jerlan Cabiyaan, Superintendent Santi Noel Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, SPO4 Melvin Caboyit and PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez.

Four others were also charged for killing of Yap, namely, Sr. Insp. Fritz Bioco Blanco, SPO4 Juanito Duarte, PO2 Lloyd Ortiguesa and PO1 Bernard Orpilla.

The accused are now detained at the jail facility of CIDG regional office in this city due to cell congestion at the Baybay City sub-provincial jail. (PNA)