NBI: Espinosa-Yap killings a conspiracy, rub out

Posted on December 07, 2016

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday announced it has recommended to the Department of Justice (DoJ) the filing of multiple murder and perjury charges against Superintendent Marvin Wynn Marcos and other police officers and operatives involved in the Nov. 5 killing of Albuera, Leyte, Mayor Rolando R. Espinosa, Sr. and drug suspect Raul Yap.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 Supt. Marvin Wynn Marcos -- AFP
In a statement, the bureau said it has recommended, in its Dec. 2 transmittal to Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II, the prosecution for multiple murder charges of 24 operatives of the Regional Maritime Unit in Tacloban City and Regional Office No. 8 of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headed by Mr. Marcos.

Also to be charged, as recommended by the NBI, are Police Chief Inspector Leo D. Laraga and PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa and Paul G. Olendan, for what the bureau described as their “maliciously obtained” search warrant on the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City (south of Albuera town) where Messrs. Espinosa and Yap were detained at the time of their murder. Mr. Olendan was also recommended to be charged for perjury.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte early last August had singled out Mr. Espinosa and his son, Rolando “Kerwin” E. Espinosa, Jr. in a “shoot on sight” order after flagging the illegal drugs enterprise of the younger Espinosa, who was on the lam at the time.

Mr. Espinosa, Jr. was caught in Abu Dhabi two months later and he returned home, escorted by authorities, on Nov. 18, two weeks after his father’s murder.

Messrs. Yap and Espinosa, Sr. were killed in a pre-dawn raid at the Baybay jail by operatives led by Mr. Marcos who claimed that the inmates engaged them in a shootout. Mr. Marcos and his men arrived at the jail with a search warrant for illegal possession of firearms.

The NBI, however, concluded in its investigation that “testimonies of several witnesses had disputed the claim of an alleged shoot[-]out... but [instead affirmed] a ‘rub out.’”

The NBI also noted an earlier search “conducted on 30 October 2016[,]... [which] yielded nothing but a few items like cellular phones. It was, therefore, impossible for Espinosa and Yap to possess these firearms and illegal drugs inside their respective cells on the night of the supposed implementation of the search warrants.”

Moreover, “the application for search warrant was maliciously obtained by the applicants since the deponent’s [Mr. Olendan’s] affidavit was perjured. The deponent’s testimony that he entered Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail never took place.”

“From the pieces of evidence, the NBI concluded it is patently clear that the acts of the CIDG 8 operatives showed a community of purpose or an implied conspiracy,” the bureau said in its statement, adding: “There was unison in their purpose and action, signifying that they were all moved by a single criminal intent.”

“The search warrant was a cover to legitimize their [CIDG-8’s] operations,” NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said in a news conference also on Tuesday, explaining the bureau’s findings on the Espinosa-Yap murders.

Kung may firefight, doon dapat sa may pinto ang direction ng fire ni Espinosa, towards the intruders [If there was a firefight, the direction of Mr. Espinosa’s shots should have been towards the door, towards the intruders],” Mr. Lavin also said.

“We stand by our findings....May pakay sila sa pagpatay kay Espinosa at Yap [They had (certain intentions) in the killing of Espinosa and Yap],” he added. -- Kristine Joy V. Patag