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Leila backs Ping’s call to re-open EJK probe: She wants to know if Espinosa killing was ‘high-level rubout’

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Sen. Leila de Lima is backing the proposal of Sen. Ping Lacson to continue the Senate probe on extrajudicial killings under the watch of President Rodrigo Duterte following the suspicious death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

Lacson said Saturday he may discuss the possibility of resuming the probe with Senate justice committee chairman Richard Gordon when the Senate resumes session on Monday.

“I will discuss the possibility of resuming the EJK investigation with Justice Committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon and focus on the Espinosa killing when session resumes on Monday,” Lacson said in a statement.


De Lima, who initiated the probe as then head of the Senate Committee on Justice before she was unceremoniously voted out as chair by her peers, agreed with Lacson.

“It is important that we get to the bottom of these killings given the suspicious circumstances surrounding them and determine whether they are are cases of ‘nanlaban’ or plain cases of EJKs or more importantly, high level rub-outs intended to protect public officials whom the victims might implicate as protectors of drug lords and their businesses,” said de Lima in a statement.

Espinosa and another drug suspect in his cell were killed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Northern Leyte during a shootout while they were serving a search warrants inside the Baybay, Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday morning.

The CIDG-Northern Leyte team, led by Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, will be the subject of the investigation, claimed that Espinosa fought it out with the CIDG continngent which also claimed that shabu packs were found in the mayor’s cell.

The mayor and his sons, Kerwin and Rolan, had implicated de Lima as having received P8 million in bribe money last March for her senatorial campaign. De Lima denied the allegation. Kerwin, an alleged drug lord, is currently detained at Abu Dhabi where he was caught last month.

De Lima said: “We are looking to the accounting of facts to be laid down in these investigations so we can then proceed to come up with the proper recommendations and responses in the event that higher authorities are implicated.”

De Lima brought self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato to the Senate probe to testify the chilling similarities between the killings by the Davao Death Squad during Rodrigo Duterte’s term as Davao City mayor and the alleged extrajudicial killings committed under the first four months as president – the alleged suspects were wrapped in plastic with a bullet hole in the hand and a sign proclaiming he or she was a drug pusher or a criminal