By Kristine Joy V. Patag

Murder charges in Espinosa slay downgraded to homicide

Posted on June 09, 2017

THE OFFICE of the Justice Secretary lowered its charges against several police officers, led by Police Superintendent Marvin Wynn Marcos, over the Nov. 5, 2016 slay of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Roland R. Epinosa, Sr. and inmate Raul Yap.

The charges downgraded by said office (as distinguished from the Department of Justice as a whole) are homicide, from the previous non-bailable offense of murder.

Acting on a petition for review filed by the accused police officers, Justice Undersecretary Reynante B. Orceo dismissed the earlier filed murder charges against Mr. Marcos and other members of CIDG Region 8 and, instead, indicted them on homicide charges.

“Based on the foregoing, there is no sufficient basis for the indictment of the herein respondents for murder as recommended by Panel of Prosecutors in the assailed resolution,” Mr. Orceo said in an 18-page resolution dated May 29 and released yesterday, June 8.

“The evidence on record do not support the allegation of evident premeditation. The record is bereft of any showing as to when the respondents conceived the plan and as to what time they would commit the crime,” the resolution further reads.

To note, a petition for review on a DoJ-issued resolution is filed before, and acted upon by, the Office of the Justice Secretary, according to the National Prosecution Service Rule on Appeal.

The assailed resolution dated March 20, penned by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo, reads: “The killings are qualified by evident premeditation since the attack was well planned. The records will show that respondents craftily executed the killings under the pretense of implementing a search warrant.”

The DoJ issued a resolution stating that it found probable cause to file murder charges against Mr. Marcos along with members of CIDG-Region 8.

Indicted for two counts of murder are Mr. Marcos, Senior Inspector Deogracia Pedong Diaz III, Police Chief Inspector Calixto Cabardo Canillas, Jr., Inspector Lucresito Candelosas, Senior Police Officer (SPO)2 Benjamin Dacallos, SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo, Police Officer (PO)3 Normal Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan, PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal, and PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan.

Others facing murder charges in the case of Mr. Espinosa’s killing are Superintendent Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, and PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez.

The four other police officers charged for the murder of Mr. Yap are Senior Inspector Fritz Bioco Blanco, SPO4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, PO2 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, and PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpilla.

In the recently issued resolution, the DoJ noted that there was no witness during the pre-operation meeting where the reported planning was hatched by the accused. “In the present case we cannot speculate or even assume that there was evident premeditation as nothing in the records could prove the same.”

“With the absence of any evidence, it was gravely erroneous for the panel to conclude that “the records will show that respondents craftily executed the killings under the pretense of implementing a search warrant,” the resolution further reads in part.