ALBUERA, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa was murdered, that much the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs are thoroughly convinced.
More than that certainty, the two panels were equally positive that Espinosa was executed to prevent him from blowing the cover off a suspected network of influential protectors of a big illegal drugs operation in Eastern Visayas.
Senator Panfilo Lacson went even farther as to draw parallelisms in Espinosa’s killing with two other similar incidents of drug personalities getting killed while in detention: the earlier deaths of inmates Edgar Allan Alvarez and Fernando Balagbis, he said, reinforce the suspicion about a systematic effort to permanently silence those who knew and are in position to divulge details about the narco-syndicate.
From that point of takeoff, the tale of Mayor Espinosa’s death would only move deeper into more hazardous grounds.
Supt. Marvin Marcos, the police officer who led the suspicious raid in Espinosa’s jail cell, was not even supposed to be in position to do anything save cool his heels while awaiting his fate.
Instead he was reinstated over the objections of the top official of the 170,000-strong Philippine National Police.
President Duterte has owned up to giving that particular order. Why Supt. Marcos warranted such high-level intervention from no less than the highest elected official, nobody dared confront the President.
At the time, the Senate panels were still conducting the joint hearing. At the time, there has been no finding that Espinosa’s death was attended by malice and premeditation.
And yet the President has stood adamant in choosing to ignore the results of the Senate committee investigations.
He is certainly within his rights to do that.
But now he is doing so at his own peril. – PT.