Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael D. Sueno today said that he has instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate the circumstances behind the alleged shootout that led to the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and inmate Raul Yap at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City early this morning.
In his directive to PNP Chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, Sueno said the PNP should immediately conduct a probe and gather substantial evidence on the reported firefight between members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 and the two high profile inmates inside the provincial government-supervised jail.
“We want to know if CIDG Region 8 followed standard operating procedures in undertaking this operation and in serving the search warrant to Mayor Espinosa and Yap,” he said.
The DILG Secretary said that while Espinosa and Yap are high-profile inmates who are linked to the illegal drug trade, it is necessary for the police to adhere to their operations manual and respect the rights of the suspects as well, unless their lives are endangered.
“It is unfortunate that this operation led to this (death of the inmates), but of course, we also do not want our people (cops) to be the one lying dead in the course of doing their job,” he said.
Earlier today, Mayor Espinosa and Yap were killed during an alleged shootout with CIDG Region 8 personnel when the two reportedly firedshots at the police who were trying to serve a search warrant.
The CIDG was trying to serve a search warrant for Espinosa in connection with illegal possession of firearms, and for Yap, who was also being served a warrant for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Initial reports say that the police recovered one caliber Super .38 and a magazine with live ammunition from Espinosa’s cell, and one caliber .45 and a magazine with live ammunition from Yap’s cell. They also found one sachet of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia in both Espinosa’s and Yap’s cells.
Meanwhile, the hard drive of the jail’s close circuit television (CCTV) was also reported missing after the incident.