MANILA, Nov 10 (Mabuhay) — Conflicting statements on the sequence of events that led to the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa while in detention indicates that the operation conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was “premeditated,” at least two senators said Thursday.
“There’s one word to describe this—premeditated,” Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate public order committee investigating the death of Espinosa last November 5, said.
Senator Richard Gordon, vice chairman of the committee, agreed with Lacson.
“Correct. That’s why I’m asking him. Lumalabas premeditated lahat ng ginagawa mo kaya tinatanong kita deretsahan. Are you aware na ikaw ngayon ay lalabas na principal by direct cooperation, you’re aware of that? Tumataas na rin presyon ko eh,” Gordon said.
Senators Lacson and Gordon made the remarks amid the committee’s confusion on the sequence of events that transpired at the Baybay City Provincial Jail in Leyte on November 5.
Supt. Elmer Beltajar, regional director of Philippine National Police (PNP) Eastern Visayas, told the committee that Supt. Santi Noel Matira requested for a Scene of Crime Operatives (SOCO) team at 3:49 a.m.
Matira was the supervising officer of the CIDG operation. He was designated deputy by Supt. Marvin Marcos, CIDG Region 8 chief.
Marcos’ presentation of the sequence of events, however, shows that the CIDG team was able to enter the jail premises only at 4:30 a.m.
“Something doesn’t add up. Hindi pa kayo nakakapasok, nag-request na kayo ng SOCO. Ina-anticipate niyo ba na may papatayin kayo?” Lacson said.
Matira confirmed making the call to ask for a SOCO team.
“Tumawag ako sir, kasi nag-report si Major Laraga na may putukan, may kuwan. Pina-confirm ko kung may vital sign,” Matira said referring to Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, who led the CIDG team’s operation.
Matira however changed his statement upon questioning by Gordon, saying, “Nandoon po ako sa putukan sa loob.”
Marcos, for his part, explained that they weren’t conscious of the time. He also admitted not putting in his report the call made by Matira.
Lacson tasked the PNP to subject Matira’s mobile phone to a forensics investigation to determine what time he called for a SOCO team.
Lacson said the testimony of the CIDG officials should guide the PNP Internal Affairs Service in connection with its probe.
“I know you will not cover up. And I entrust you to do your job no matter who gets hurt,” the senator said.
The CIDG claims that Espinosa was killed in a shootout in his jail cell. It was serving then a search warrant on the mayor for possession of drugs and a firearm.(MNS)