DOJ chief orders NBI to probe narco mayor’s shooting

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Sunday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct investigation on the shooting of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. inside the Leyte sub provincial jail early Saturday.

Aguirre directed the NBI to conduct an investigation parallel to the probe of the Philippine National Police (PNP) “to avoid any suspicion of whitewash.”

He explained that the NBI needs to step into the case since operatives of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) were reportedly involved in the incident after Espinosa supposedly engaged in a shootout with them while being served a search warrant before dawn.

Espinosa, who was earlier tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the politicians linked to the illegal drugs trade, was shot and killed along with another inmate at the Baybay Provincial Jail.

Killed with Espinosa was another inmate identified as Raul Yap. The incident took place 4:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Albuera Police Station head Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido confirmed the shooting, saying Espinosa was reportedly shot while being served a search warrant by the operatives CIDG Region 8.

Prior to his death, Mayor Espinosa had executed an affidavit naming the government officials who allegedly protected their drug trade and benefitted from it.

Aguirre even considered him as a possible state witness to be placed under the witness protection program after coming up with an affidavit naming elected officials involved in the illegal drugs trade.

The mayor has been detained at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in this city after his arrest on Oct. 5 for illegal drugs and firearms charges. The mayor is the father of Kerwin Espinosa, allegedly the region’s top drug lord. The son was arrested earlier in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and is now undergoing deportation proceedings.

Espinosa reportedly implicated Sen. Leila de Lima and several congressmen and police officials among those who received drug money for protecting Kerwin’s operations. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA-northboundasia.com