Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte was killed past 4:00 am today,after he allegedly fought against police agents who were serving him a search warrant for “illegal possession of firearms” inside his jail cell at Baybay Sub-provincial Jail. Fellow inmate, Raul Yap who’s also from Albuera, was killed in the incident as well.
Chief Superintendent Elmer Beltejar who is currently serving as the Eastern Visayas police director claims that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 8 led by Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, who carried out the operation, did not coordinate with their office.
Provincial jail warden Homobono Bardillon says they cannot give an official statement until they have a copy of the search warrant. They also do not have access to the shootout scene as the Scene of The Crime Operations (SOCO) team is still conducting their investigations.
CIDG regional chief Marvin Marcos said in an interview with CNN Philippines that prior to the incident, there was a 15-minute standoff that almost led to a shootout between the guards of Baybay City Jail who are under the management of the Provincial Government, and the CIDG operatives. The former refused entry to the CIDG operatives due to lack of copy of the search warrants.
The 15 CIDG agents eventually gained entry by forcing the gates open with bolt cutters. Espinosa who was in Cell 1 allegedly fired with his super .38 pistol at the agents first and was eventually killed. Yap, who was in Cell 7 opened fire with his .45 caliber handgun as well and was killed while his six other inmates are unharmed.
The search warrants were issued by Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of the Regional Trial Court Banch 30 in Basey, Samar. A violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 aka Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act was made for Espinosa while RA 9165 aka Dangerous Drug Act of 1972 was set out for Yap.
It was reported that a mobile phone in Espinosa’s possession was confiscated a week ago when Baybay City Jail guards conducted a search of the detainee’s cells.