The Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) yesterday said it would come out by February with its decision on the administrative case filed against the 19 police officers involved in the killing of Albuera Mayor Roland Espinosa Sr. last Nov. 5.
The policemen, who have since been relieved, were accompanied by their counsels in the first of two preliminary conferences held by the IAS yesterday for the grave misconduct charges filed against them in connection with Espinosa’s death.
Those who attended include Senior Supt. Marvin Marcos, former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) regional chief; Supt. Noel Santi Matira, supervisor of the operation at the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City, and Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, the team leader who admitted he was the one who shot Espinosa.
Lawyer Shella Castillo, IAS acting legal division chief and hearing officer for the administrative proceeding, said IAS prosecutors and the counsels of the 13 PNP-CIDG Region and the six PNP-Martime Group officers agreed on the exchange of documents and submission of other pieces of evidence.
This would be concluded in the second conference set on Jan. 10, Castillo said. The parties would also have to agree by then on the marking of documents, the issues to be tackled and the stipulations or admissions from both sides.
“We reset because there were still documents needed by both parties,” she said.
The IAS official said that after the second conference, the policemen would be given 15 days to submit their position papers. The case would then be submitted for resolution by the IAS ad hoc committee, which is required to render a decision within 30 days.
“We will have a decision by February,” she said.
Castillo said no further hearings shall be conducted, adding that the policemen may attach whatever additional affidavits or pieces of evidence they would want to submit in their position paper.
The IAS chief, Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo, the other day said no actual hearing would be conducted. The IAS proceedings are administrative in nature and grave misconduct, an administrative offense, is punishable with dismissal from the service, he said.
“We will no longer conduct an actual hearing. That would take time, and there will be a lot of objections. They just need to submit their evidence and write their arguments on why they are not at fault. Then we will just examine it to expedite the process,” Triambulo said.
A Senate investigation earlier showed that Espinosa was unarmed when he was killed.