Philippines drug war: Investigations continue in police killing of mayor

CCTV News

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said it appears drug syndicates may be turning to kidnapping as his campaign against illegal drugs have shown no letup.

Police are stepping up efforts to round up so-called narco-politicians and narco-cops. But a mayor who was arrested on drug trafficking charges was killed by police while in detention earlier this month. Multiple investigations are ongoing, but the country’s top lawyer said it appears to have been “premeditated”.

CCTV’s Barnaby Lo has more. Follow Barnaby Lo ‏on Twitter @barnabychuck

Philippines drug war: Investigations continue in police killing of mayor

Philippines drug war: Investigations continue in police killing of mayor

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said it appears drug syndicates may be turning to kidnapping as his campaign against illegal drugs have shown no letup. Police are stepping up efforts to round up so-called narco-politicians and narco-cops. But a mayor who was arrested on drug trafficking charges was killed by police while in detention earlier this month. Multiple investigations are ongoing, but the country's top lawyer said it appears to have been "premeditated". CCTV's Barnaby Lo reports.

 

A shootout or murder- question family and supporters of Rolando Espinosa, mayor of the central Philippine town Albuera, had asked in the days following his death while in government detention.

After weeks of multiple investigations, in the Senate and by police, it appears an answer is forthcoming. On Wednesday, the country’s top lawyer, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said, he believes the killing was “premeditated.”

Footage from security cameras in and around the prison, however, is missing. Among the many questions, senators and the justice secretary highlighted the fact that cops involved called crime scene investigators before they supposedly commenced the search operation. Despite this, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has not reversed his position on the issue. 

But in an explosive testimony on Wednesday, self-confessed drug lord and Espinosa’s son Kerwin implicated a senator and cops in the drug trade, including the head of the team that killed his father. The country’s police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, was emotional as he vowed to clean the ranks of the Philippine National Police. 

Espinosa had been in jail for drug trafficking when members of a special anti-organized crime police unit stormed his cell early this month, saying they were acting on information Espinosa was dealing drugs inside the facility.

Rolando Espinosa was detained for about a month. Now police said they got a tip that there were drugs and guns inside so they served a search warrant but upon doing that, Espinosa apparently fired at them. So that prompted them to retaliate and that’s how they killed Espinosa and one other inmate.

Despite all this, both Dela Rosa and Duterte said they’re winning the battle against narcotics, though a different kind of trouble appears to be on the rise. 

We checked records of the police station that covers the community where most of the kidnappings allegedly happened but found none reported. Local officials tell CCTV, however, that there have indeed been a number of kidnappings. It’s just that victims, mostly ethnic Chinese, are too afraid to come out.