BAYBAY CITY – 19 officers and members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) here, who have been accused for the alleged murder of the late Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Jr. last November 5, 2016, are now detained at the CIDG office in Tacloban City, following their surrender this week.
They are Police Supt. Santi Noel G. Matira, Supt. Marvin Wynn Marcos, Ch. Insp. Leo D. Laraga, Ch. Insp. Calixto C. Canillas Jr., Sr. Insp. Deogracias P. Diaz III, Sr. Insp. Fritz Blanco,
Insp. Lucrecito A. Candilosas, SPO4 Melvin M. Cayobit, SPO4 Juanito Duarte, SPO2 Antonio R. Docil, SPO2 Benjamin L. Dacallos, SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo, PO3 Johnny A. Ibañez, PO3 Norman
T. Abellanosa, PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan, PO2 Jaime P. Bacsal, PO1 Jerlan S. Cabiyaan, PO1 Lloyd Ortigueza, and PO1 Bernard Orpilla. No bail for their temporary liberty has been recommended.
They are facing murder charges, some for two counts. Judge Carlos Arguelles of the Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in this city, to dispel speculations of special treatment, said that SJO4
Lourdes Noveda, wardress of said Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility, has issued a certification that the Baybay City Jail is already 300% overcrowded.
In the same certification, Noveda said accommodating 19 more detainees was impossible. The Baybay City Jail only has 24-inmate capacity, but currently has 75 detainees. She added that BJMP cannot secure the lives of the accused considering that they are high profile inmates, and that they have only 14 personnel who are manning the jail on shifts. The judge added he cannot also detain the 19 at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail because it only caters to detainees coming from the towns of Albuera and Mahaplag. The late Espinosa, together with one Raul Yap who was detained for drugs, were killed in alleged shootout with the accused when they were searching their cell for guns and drugs.
Under OCA Circular 270-2016, he is authorized “to hold in abeyance/suspend the commitment order to facilities that are overcrowded.” “90% of the detainees (in both facilities) are charged for drug related cases, and we cannot discount the possibility that these accused in the Espinosa case are also the arresting officers,” Arguelles said. Judge Arguelles then stressed that said
order is without prejudice to the issuance of the proper commitment order, when the conditions of the city jail would be fesible for their detention. Also, their detention at the CIDG Regional
Office 8 is subject to the conditions that they should be detained at all times in the lock-up cell under maximum security; and they should not be allowed to roam around the jail premises.
He added that they would conduct on the spot inspection to know if the CIDG custodians are following the court’s conditions, and could use its contempt power if violations would be committed.
The official also downplayed possible misinterpretation of his order pointing out that they are not after emotions, but they are just following the law. “This is how we go with the procedure.
It is where the court stands. It is not a matter of favoring somebody, but considering the circumstances surrounding the case,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, he clarified that instead of 23, only 19 have been charged for either or two murders with no recommended bail because one of them arrived after the incident has transpired, one was absent without official leave, while the other was just handling the perimeter security. “We cannot charge them for conspiracy when they have arrived after the commission of the crime, and the other was nowhere to be found,” he said.