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Cops called SOCO before killing Espinosa, document shows

Photos on obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal

Raiding team leader denies timeline

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED 1:52 p.m.) — Senators on Thursday noted that the Crime Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) summoned the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) even before entering the Leyte provincial jail and killing Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa in an alleged jail raid.

Based on the timeline submitted to the Senate public order committee the raiding team called for SOCO to inspect the scene at 3:49 a.m., but the CIDG entered the jail at 4:30 a.m., panel chair Sen. Panfilo Lacson noted at the first public hearing on the mayor's death.

“Bakit nagre-request na kayo ng SOCO kahit hindi pa kayo nakakapasok? Ina-anticipate ninyo ba na may papatayin kayo?” Lacson asked.

“Para kayong tumatawag ng punerarya, wala pang engkwentro,” he added.

READ: PNP relieves 24 cops in Espinosa killing

Superintendent Santi Noel Matira, who supervised the CIDG operation, admitted that he made the call but he was unaware of the time, claiming that he made the call call right after the supposed fire fight against Espinosa.

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Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Director Benjamin Magalong said that his office questioned the raiding team about the SOCO call when they held a meeting on Wednesday prior to the Senate hearing.

Lacson said that the killing could be proven to be premeditated, based on the call for SOCO.

READ: Photos tell 2 stories on Espinosa death: Shootout or rubout?

Espinosa was killed inside his detention cell on Saturday after cops served a search warrant for illegal drugs and firearms.

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