Published November 5, 2016 2:36pm
Updated November 5, 2016 2:48pm
'POLICE TEAM KILLED MAYOR IN SELF DEFENSE'
Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was a bad person and was capable of killing, a police officer said Saturday as he asked the public to believe their version in the killing of the local chief executive inside a detention facility.
"Ang sinasabi po ninyo ay ang profile niya kasi mabait na siya noong time na iyon [na siya ay sumuko]. Si Mayor naman po kung malamaman ninyo na nung naglabasan na po ang mga complainant [laban sa kanya] makikita n'yo po kung paano niya inutusan na patayin ang mga complainant," Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, head of the provincial Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Northern Leyte, told Balitanghali in an interview.
Laraga lead the team of CIDG operatives who killed Espinosa inside his jail cell at the Baybay City Sub-Provincial Jail before dawn Saturday.
Laraga was trying to convince the public that Espinosa was killed in a legitimate operation and that members of their team killed the local chief executive in self defense.
"Hindi rin po natin masasabi na porke't nag-[voluntary] surrender si Mayor ay masasabi na po natin na hindi na niya kayang gawin ang ginawa niya sa amin," he said, insisting that Espinosa fired at them first.
"Eh buti nga po walang nasaktan sa amin. Eh kung may nasaktan po sa amin saka po ba tayo maniniwala na pinaputukan tayo ni Mayor? Mahirap naman pong ganun, 'di ba?" he added.
Laraga said that the shootout happened as his team was serving search warrants on the mayor and another drug suspect identified as Raul Yap at the provincial jail.
Yap was also killed in the supposed shootout.
Laraga said the basis of the search warrant against the slain mayor was information that he was in possession of a .45 pistol and drugs inside the provincial jail.
He said that upon their arrival at the provincial jail, the jail guard on duty refused to honor the search warrants and barred them from entering the detention facility.
He claimed that after at least 20 minutes of discussions, his team was forced to used a bolt cutter to "break in" to the jail.
"Nang makapasok na po kami sa dalawang selda, probably because of that span na 20 minutes, to the point na nagsisigawan na kami doon, naalarma ang mga subject natin. Kaya pagdating natin sa kanilang selda ay bigla silang (mga pulis) pinaputukan," he narrated.
He said they ordered the other inmates to drop to the ground as the shootout ensued.
Laraga said the slain mayor used a .38 Super revolver, which could have been mistaken by their informant as a .45 pistol. He added that the revolver is "expensive" and a "collector's item."
Crime scene investigators said they recovered the revolver and a plastic sachet of suspected shabu inside Espinosa's jail cell. A .45 pistol and five sachets of suspected shabu, meanwhile, were seized from the jail cell of Yap.
Laraga said Espinosa could have resorted to shooting at his team due to fear of being killed inside the jail.
"Nakita na po nila ang sunud-sunod na operation sa loob ng kulungan sir eh, malamang in-expect na nila iyan, ganito ang mangyayari sa kanila, baka patayin sila ganyan. Kaya siguro ang instict nila ay unahan na lang nila kung sinuman ang pumunta sa selda nila, kaya siguro ganyan ang naging intensyon nila," Laraga said.
The police officer said he was confident that he and his team will be cleared in the independent investigations that will be conducted by the Philippine National Police.
He also said that the CCTV cameras installed in the provincial jail will prove what really happened during the supposed raid. —ALG, GMA News