Press Release
June 21, 2017

Sen. Bam wants DOJ to explain contradictory resolutions in Espinosa case

A senator wants the Department of Justice (DOJ) to explain its contradictory issuances regarding the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap inside his jail cell in Baybay City Provincial Jail last year.

"The DOJ's recent ruling in favor of the accused police officers was made with blatant disregard for the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Senate," Sen. Bam Aquino in Senate Resolution No. 413.

Sen. Bam was referring to the DOJ's June 2 resolution which indicated that there was no record of "evident premeditation" and "necessary force" was used to implement the search warrant against Espinosa.

The latest decision reversed the earlier DOJ resolution dated March 2, which recommended the filing of murder charges against 19 members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), headed by Supt. Marvin Marcos.

In that resolution, the DOJ stated that "the killings are qualified by evident premeditation since the attack was well planned".

"The recent turnaround in the DOJ ruling is deeply concerning as there is no clear and compelling reason to reverse its initial resolution," said Sen. Bam, adding that the new DOJ resolution contradicts the agency's earlier decision as well as the findings of both the NBI and the Senate committees which investigated the incident.

After its own investigation, the NBI disputed the claim by the CIDG-8 team that the killing happened in the course of a shootout between Espinosa and Yap and the CIDG team. Based on its findings, the NBI concluded that the killing was a rubout, premeditated and with criminal intent.

In its report, the Senate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and Justice and Human Rights also maintained that the mayor's murder was premeditated.

"This sends the message that the supposed law enforcers frontlining the current administration's war on drugs are exempted from the rule of law," the senator said.

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