Leyte town mayor, inmate killed in alleged shootout with cops in prison
A town mayor from Leyte province who was an alleged narco-politician and another inmate were shot dead after allegedly engaging policemen in a shootout in a jail on Saturday.
Police said Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and another inmate of the Baybay City sub-provincial jail died in the shootout. Authorities ordered an investigation.
This was the second death of a politician who is in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of politicians and officials involved in illegal drugs. Last week, a mayor of a Maguindanao town and nine others were killed in a shootout with police at a checkpoint in North Cotabato .
Criminal investigation operatives were implementing a search warrant against Espinosa for illegal possession and firearms and another prisoner, Raul Yap, for illegal
drugs when the two inmates allegedly fired at them.
The duo allegedly opened fire at the cops with a caliber 38 revolver and one caliber 45 handgun.
After a brief firefight, according to a text message from Superintendent Melvin Marcos, the regional criminal investigation head, Espinosa and Yap were killed on the spot while no policeman died.
The alleged encounter happened at 4:10 am inside the one-storey jail in Barangay Hipusngo, Marcos said.
Espinosa, who surrendered after he was included in the list of suspected narco-politicians of Duterte on August 2, was placed under arrest last October. A court issued arrest warrants, one for illegal possession of firearms and explosives and another for illegal drugs, Espinosa.
The Palace declined to comment on the Espinosa's death which came a month after he was arrested.
"It's really under investigation so we don't have an actual commentary on that," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in an interview over government radio.
Police criminal investigators secured search warrants against Espinosa and Yap after a tip from an informant jived with an intelligence report authorities received about the mayor's illegal activities.
"We received information illegal drug transactions were being done by an inmate at the provincial jail of Baybay," Marcos said over dzMM radio.
The inmate, Yap , was also Espinosa' associate as both are from Albuera town.
When police arrived at the detention facility, Marcos claimed jail guards prevented police operatives from getting inside.
"The jail guards did not immediately open the gates and even destroyed the key to the padlock," Marcos said.
After a standoff of about 50 minutes, police forcibly opened the gates and immediately looked for Espinosa and Yap .
The regional police Internal Affairs Service is investigating if police committed lapses in the operational procedures.
Espinosa's son and namesake, Rolando Jr., was recently arrested at the United Arab Emirates . He is also an alleged drug lord just like his father. Emmanuel Tupas/DMS