Press Release
November 6, 2016


Senator Richard J. Gordon is set to file a resolution calling for a Senate investigation into the slaying of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and drug suspect Raul Yap who were reportedly killed in a shootout inside the Baybay City Provincial Jail early Saturday morning.

Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said he will file the resolution after he submits the committee report on the investigation on recent and rampant killings which was concluded just before the Senate went into a two-week recess starting last October 22.

"I will talk to Sen. (Panfilo) Lacson, who has expressed intention to seek the resumption of our investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings following the killing of Mayor Espinosa. We will have to conduct a separate investigation on this case because we have wrapped up the previous investigation and the committee report is ready for submission," he explained.

Gordon has earlier expressed alarm over Espinosa's killing, saying that it is a dagger in the heart of the criminal justice system as it appears that even those who are in the custody of the law are no longer safe.

"How can we encourage suspects to surrender under the law in this situation? It's a slap on the face of the rule of law and it signals a more desperate system - a 'take no prisoners' approach. This creates an atmosphere of intimidation and fear and puts everybody in danger," he added.

The senator thus urged the police to investigate the incident and prevent all killings, especially of those already arrested and detained, lest it be construed or misconstrued as part of the Duterte administration's all-out war against drugs.

"It is in the public interest to dispel speculations as well as to allay fear among our people. The police must show that it is responsible and capable of protecting its citizens and delivering justice to them under the rule of law," he declared.

Reports said operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 killed Espinosa and Yap while serving search warrants at the provincial jail. The two victims allegedly fired guns at the cops.

Espinosa had surrendered to the PNP last August after his name was included in a list of government officials allegedly involved in illegal drugs. At the time, he claimed to know some 30 lawmakers and police commanders involved in illegal drugs.

He subsequently left police custody and returned to work, but was arrested last October 5 over illegal drug and weapons charges. Espinosa is the father of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, who was arrested in Abu Dhabi last month. Kerwin is in the custody of INTERPOL and is in the process of being deported.

Espinosa is the second mayor, under the Duterte administration, to be killed after being tagged in the illegal drug trade. On October 28, Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom was killed along with nine others after an anti-illegal drug operation in Makilala, Cotabato.

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