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SPECIAL REPORT: PINOY FISHERS - "WE ARE HAPPY TO BE BACK, PANATAG SHOULD BE OPEN TO ALL"


NOVEMBER 6 -Seizing the day, thanks to the apparent lifting of the Chinese blockade to the lagoon, crewmen haul in a bountiful harvest from the sea. PANATAG SHOAL—The waters inside the shoal are calm, betraying the tension between Filipino fishermen and Chinese coast guards. Small fishing boats can sail inside the shoal, but anything bigger is barred by the crew of a Chinese Coast Guard ship guarding its mouth, an apparent concession given by China to Filipino fishermen following President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing last month. More than a week ago, we hopped into a fishing vessel and sailed for Panatag or Scarborough Shoal from Barangay Calapandayan in Subic, Zambales. After two nights of sailing, we reached our destination at dusk (distance: 270 kms from Subic), and were greeted by the sight of three huge Chinese Coast Guard ships silhouetted against the fading light. READ MORE..., GREAT PHOTOS...

ALSO Pacquiao: The legend grows
[RELATED: Pacquiao is champ again]
(
Pacquiao claimed a unanimous points decision to win a fight set to net him a minimum of $4 million and he is also due a percentage share of the pay-per-view profits on top of his guaranteed money. As for Vargas, the vanquished champion still pocketed a guaranteed $2.8 million from the night,)


NOVEMBER 7 -Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao celebrates after defeating Jessie Vargas in their WBO welterweight title boxing match in Las Vegas yesterday. AP Filipino icon decisions Vargas, claims WBO belt
LAS VEGAS – A hard left that felled his rival marked the return of Manny Pacquiao in a thrilling showdown that further added luster to his legacy before a crowd of more than 16,000, including the very man the world wanted to see in a rematch with the Filipino icon. Pacquiao outclassed Jessie Vargas to win a third welterweight title via unanimous decision at the Thomas and Mack Center here Saturday to become what he described as the first fighting senator in the history of prizefight. He displayed speed and tremendous power and fought like the Pacquiao of old, dropping the Mexican-American champ in the second round, and kept the pressure throughout the 12-round fight. It was an exciting showdown although Vargas, who at 27 is 10 years younger than the former eight-division titleholder, absorbed punishing lessons from a master fighter. READ MORE...RELATED, Pacquiao is champ again...

ALSO Leyte Mayor dead in jail cell: Lawyer says, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa died in a supposed "overkill" by the local police inside his detention cell
[RELATED: Mayor Espinosa’s family still in shock, doesn’t believe he has gun inside jail cell —lawyer]


NOVEMBER 6 -Lawyer: Autopsy shows 'overkill' in Espinosa slay Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa died in a supposed "overkill" by the local police inside his detention cell, his lawyer claimed on Sunday based on an autopsy report. Lawyer Lanie Villarino said an autopsy conducted on the remains of Espinosa showed he sustained four gunshot wounds, after being shot three times with one of the bullets went through his body. Villarino said their camp is studying slapping charges against the police officers involved in the supposed shootout. "Of course overkill at saka knowing mayor, hindi niya kaya iyon. We were discussing na may possibility na mag-file ng kaso. I witnessed the autopsy para makita natin na thorough ang pag-autopsy ni Dr. Lara," said Villarino. "Possibility na natumba na siya binaril pa siya. Wasak iyong liver niya. Wala nang gastric [juice] na puwedeng gawing sample sa drug testing. Walang laman yung tiyan kasi wasak yung tiyan," the lawyer said. READ MORE...RELATED, Mayor Espinosa’s family still in shock, doesn’t believe he has gun inside jail cell —lawyer...

ALSO: From the arrest to the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa
[RELATED: PNP also eyes rubout angle]


NOVEMBER 5 -TIMELINE: August 3, 2016: Six gunmen with suspected links to the mayor and his son are killed following an encounter with authorities around the homes of the Espinosas in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Binolho, Albuera town. Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte in the illegal drug trade, was killed by policemen during a raid in his jail cell at the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail in Leyte early Saturday. Espinosa, also called "Daddy Onik" by the police, had submitted himself to authorities in August after Duterte gave him and his son Kerwin 24 hours to surrender. Duterte also gave a "shoot on sight" order against the father and son if they will fail to surrender. The Espinosas were suspected to have links to retired police officials involved in the drugs trade and Kerwin was also said to have ties with Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, the top drug personality killed in a police operation in June. READ MORE...RELATED, PNP also eyes rubout angle...

ALSO: Aguirre: De Lima ‘common denominator’ in Espinosa slay, other killings[RELATED: Senate, NBI to probe Espinosa slay]


NOVMEEBR 5 -AGUIRRE, DE LIMA
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Sunday linked Sen. Leila De Lima to the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa. In an interview on radio dzBB, Aguirre called De Lima the "common denominator" in the killing of a Cebu policeman who allegedly squealed on narco-generals; the fatal stabbing of alleged drug lord Tony Co inside New Bilibid Prison; and Espinosa's shooting on Saturday. Aguirre did not name the policeman killed in Cebu, but Police Officer 2 Ryan del Castillo was found dead in Lapu-Lapu City last August after accusing Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo and retired Chief Superintendent and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot for illegal drug involvement. "Ang lahat nang ito ay parang may common denominator... Ang protector at mga involved dito ay yung mga drug lords at protectors nito na pinangungunahan, ayon sa affidavit na ginawa ni Mayor Rolando Espinosa, si Sen. De Lima," Aguirre said. Aguirre said that De Lima was the first person listed by Espinosa in his affidavit of illegal drug coddlers. READ MORE...RELATED, Senate, NBI to probe Espinosa slay...


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SPECIAL REPORT: ‘We are happy to be back, Panatag should be open to all’


NOVEMBER 6 -Seizing the day, thanks to the apparent lifting of the Chinese blockade to the lagoon, crewmen haul in a bountiful harvest from the sea.

MANILA, NOVEMBER 7, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Richard Reyes / @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:21 AM November 06, 2016 (Editor’s note: Inquirer photographer Richard Reyes hitched a ride with fishermen from Subic town to go to Panatag Shoal)...

PANATAG SHOAL—The waters inside the shoal are calm, betraying the tension between Filipino fishermen and Chinese coast guards.

Small fishing boats can sail inside the shoal, but anything bigger is barred by the crew of a Chinese Coast Guard ship guarding its mouth, an apparent concession given by China to Filipino fishermen following President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing last month.

More than a week ago, we hopped into a fishing vessel and sailed for Panatag or Scarborough Shoal from Barangay Calapandayan in Subic, Zambales. After two nights of sailing, we reached our destination at dusk (distance: 270 kms from Subic), and were greeted by the sight of three huge Chinese Coast Guard ships silhouetted against the fading light.

READ MORE...

Almost a kilometer from us, we espied Chinese crewmen on their rubber boats approaching two Filipino fishing vessels anchored near the mouth of the shoal, signaling them to leave.


At first glance, this looks like a rickety fishing vessel that is no match to the Chinese Coast Guard ships. But it has survived several cat and mouse games with the bigger, better equipped Chinese ships. And it’s back again at Panatag.

“They said it was okay to fish. Why are they like that?’” fishing boat captain Aniceto Achina muttered as he peeped through his binoculars. He then maneuvered the seven-meter long fishing vessel away; his 10 crewmen observed. We waited for the Chinese rubber boats to come to us, but they never did. They motored back to the Coast Guard ship anchored at the main entrance.

“That’s it, they don’t want our mother boat to go inside the shoal. They just allow us here outside,” the 40-year-old captain concluded.

As soon as the Chinese rubber boats disappeared from view, the crew immediately released the six small fishing boats from the katig or outriggers of the mother boat into the water, and began to fish.

The 150-square kilometer shoal is ringed by rocks and reefs that serve as a buffer against waves. That’s why inside the lagoon, the water is calm (panatag). Before Chinese ships seized it, Filipino fishermen would seek refuge in the lagoon during storms, and come out safe.


Cooling one’s heels. The skipper watches over the entire crew above the cabin, as he steers the fishing boat with his feet.

When we were there, fishermen on small fishing boats could go past shallow waters into the lagoon, without needing to go through the mouth, where the omnipresent Chinese ship stands guard.

Elsewhere, three bigger Chinese ships keep a safe distance of 6 to 10 km from the shoal. At times, they are seen roving around the shoal.

At night, we could sense activity from two unmarked Chinese vessels at the shoal, but it was difficult to pinpoint what it was because of the total darkness.

Achina and his crew are regulars in Panatag. Many times they experienced harassment and bombardment with water cannons by the huge Chinese Coast Guard ship that often came close to crashing on them.

They would maneuver to the shallow part of the shoal where the ship could not follow them.

“They chased us. The good thing was we know the shoal much better than them. We know where to run,” Achina said.


The crew members fill tanks with water that often tasted sweet, but sometimes reeked of diesel and gasoline.

But then the Chinese coast guards, armed with guns, would chase them in their rubber boat.

“They did not point their guns at us. They just told us to leave. Our crewmen would hide under the cabin near the engine. I would face them and talk them. I know they won’t kill us,” Achina said.

The fishermen would communicate with the Chinese using hand gestures.

There was a time the cat and mouse game made the Chinese so sick that they allowed the fishermen to stay in the shoal to let a storm pass. During the lull, the Chinese and the fishermen swapped fish, boiled eggs, cigarette and liquor.

Fishing at the shoal is no joke. According to Achina, they had to scrounge for P120,000 from financiers to cover everything: 10 containers of diesel, 16 containers of gasoline, 70 blocks of ice, as well as food provisions and money for their families.

To break even, they need to fill some 18 huge styrofoam boxes with at least 50 kilograms of fish. They split among them whatever they earn in excess of the P120,000.

To catch fish, they throw a hook into the water, and use squid and tuna as bait, a mode of fishing locally called “kawil.” They don’t use “Superlights” as the Vietnamese do to lure fish, much less dynamite fishing which was rampant before the Chinese took over Panatag.






It can’t get any better than this: More catch from the shoal.

The lagoon is home to a variety of fish such as coral fish, trevally, grouper, snapper, and tuna.

While the captain and his crew were initially hesitant to take me in for obvious reasons, we eventually warmed up to one another during the journey.

Every now and then, fishermen from other boats would hop into our boat for a chat, and for some cigarettes. At night, the fishermen watched ‘90s porn movies to while away time.

After a tiring day of fishing, the weary crewmen slept on the outriggers of the boat. I slept near the generator to keep warm.

“We were happy to be back here. Fishing is hard but this is the only way we know to earn a living. This is what we do to support our family,” Achina said. “Panatag should be open [to all], and be guarded against illegal fishing.”


In between back-breaking, hourslong fishing, the tireless crew members break bread.


Pacquiao: The legend grows By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 7, 2016 - 12:00am 3 200 googleplus0 0


Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao celebrates after defeating Jessie Vargas in their WBO welterweight title boxing match in Las Vegas yesterday. AP Filipino icon decisions Vargas, claims WBO belt

LAS VEGAS – A hard left that felled his rival marked the return of Manny Pacquiao in a thrilling showdown that further added luster to his legacy before a crowd of more than 16,000, including the very man the world wanted to see in a rematch with the Filipino icon.

Pacquiao outclassed Jessie Vargas to win a third welterweight title via unanimous decision at the Thomas and Mack Center here Saturday to become what he described as the first fighting senator in the history of prizefight.


Manny Pacquiao (left) used his speed to break through the guard of Jessie Vargas

He displayed speed and tremendous power and fought like the Pacquiao of old, dropping the Mexican-American champ in the second round, and kept the pressure throughout the 12-round fight.

It was an exciting showdown although Vargas, who at 27 is 10 years younger than the former eight-division titleholder, absorbed punishing lessons from a master fighter.

READ MORE...

With Floyd Mayweather Jr. seated at ringside and his young daughter to his right, Pacquiao tried to put on a show. Before the opening bell, the Filipino superstar raised his glove head-high and smiled at the undefeated American, who’s in retirement as well.


Floyd Mayweather Jr grabs limelight as he takes ringside seat in Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas

Pacquiao fought well against Vargas and won on all three scorecards (118-109, 118-109, 114-113). It was mostly vintage Pacquiao even if he failed to score the knockout that his trainer had hoped for.

“I’m so happy with my performance tonight,” he said in the middle of the celebration on top of the ring as the crowd of 16,132 watched in approval.

“I wanted to win every round and I was looking for the knockout,” he said, adding that he’s excited to fly home Sunday and plunge back into work at the Senate.

He will take a private plane to Los Angeles Sunday afternoon and then the evening flight to Manila with the WBO welterweight belt in his possession.

Mayweather’s presence, Pacquiao said, was no surprise.

“I invited him to come here tonight,” he said, and when the question on possible rematch with the undefeated American, who’s now 39, was raised, Pacquiao added, “We’ll see.”

“I’m so proud of Manny. It was a good fight. Jessie was a good opponent,” said Freddie Roach.

American scribes who sat at press row and just a few feet away from Mayweather threw questions at the retired superstar.

“What do you think?” Mayweather was asked.

“Not bad,” was his reply.

Vargas came to fight but couldn’t handle Pacquiao’s speed.


Manny Pacquiao, left, of the Philippines, hits Jessie Vargas during their WBO welterweight title boxing match, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Las Vegas. Jessie Vargas back to using his jab to keep his distance from the challenger Manny Pacquiao in the eighth round. Vargas nailed a four-punch combo after he lands a solid right to the face of Pacquiao. Pacquiao, however, returned the favor, pinning Vargas to the ropes with a three-punch combination. An accidental head collision also happened as Pacquiao was pinning Vargas. Pacquiao would take advantage of that cut as he uses his jab to open up the wound. Round 8: Pacquiao bloodies Vargas INQUIRER.net / 12:48 PM November 06, 2016 (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

He did land powerful punches of his own, and said it forced Pacquiao to back off at times. But it was pretty evident throughout the fight that Vargas was not at par with his opponent.

Ring announcer Michael Buffer read the scorecards and declared Pacquiao as the new WBO welterweight champion. The dominant Filipino crowd at the venue rejoiced as well as those thousands of miles away.

Pacquiao celebrated with his team members inside the ring, and then faced his fans from one corner to the other. He climbed the ring post and raised his hands in the air as Mayweather stood before the boxer whom he defeated in May 2015.

Facing Mayweather, the 37-year-old Pacquiao waved his left hand, saying, “Thank you.”

Pacquiao admitted during the ring interview that Vargas had him thinking inside the ring at times. He did take some good punches from the deposed champion, but seemed to take them well.

“I was very careful because I know he will counter me,” said Pacquiao.

During the post-fight press conference, Vargas received a good round of applause. He took the loss in stride, saying he respects Pacquiao and that he’s not going to argue about the result.

“I’m not going to argue with the scorecards or the referee,” he said.

“It was a chess match and I believe it was in the third round he caught me with a good shot – a left hand,” said Vargas, who must have thought that the knockdown came in the third round instead of the second.

Vargas said yes, he caught Pacquiao a few times or even more.


LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 05: Jessie Vargas (R) hits Manny Pacquiao in the fourth round of their WBO welterweight championship fight at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao won by unanimous decision. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP Many wrote Jessie Vargas off heading into the biggest fight of his boxing career against Manny Pacquiao. Vargas lost, yielding his WBO welterweight title, but not after putting up a gutsy showing against the Filipino legend that left even Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach surprised. “He (Pacquiao) pretty much fought a good fight. The opponent was a little bit better than I thought he was, he had a lot of heart,” Roach told reporters in the post-fight press conference. INQUIRER FILE

“We caught him a few times. But he’s a very experienced fighter. He’s a legend. We give him credit. I was staying in my toes and trying to catch him,” he said.

“It made me a better fighter just being in there with Manny,” he said.

“It was a chess match – back and forth. We were on our toes trying to catch each other. His speed surprised me at the beginning and that knockdown woke me up. It was a flash knockdown. But he has tremendous speed,” said Vargas.

The loss was only his second in 29 fights, the other one coming in the hands of Timothy Bradley last year. It was the first time that Vargas was knocked down by a clean shot.

“Sometimes you get caught with punches you don’t see. Fighting Manny Pacquiao was like playing a fast game of chess. A lot of punches coming in. He was very fast and he was very sharp,” he said.

Vargas’ trainer, Dewey Cooper, said: “It was a tough fight. Let’s give credit to Pacquiao for his legendary performance. He’s a great champion.”

-----------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Pacquiao is champ again By: Roy Luarca / @RLuarcaINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:03 AM November 07, 2016
 


TRIUMPHANT Filipino boxing superstar-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao celebrates after wresting the WBO welterweight championship title from Mexico’s Jessie Vargas at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Another Filipino, Nonito Donaire, lost his title. —AFP

LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao reclaimed the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title for the third time, although he failed to knock out defending champion Jessie Vargas in his comeback fight on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Darting in and out, connecting from side to side, Pacquiao beat Vargas by unanimous decision and regained the welterweight crown before a sellout crowd of 16,132 at Thomas & Mack Center here.

Though he knocked down Vargas with a left straight late in the second round, Pacquiao was unable to finish off the American champion as the bell sounded afterward.


Vargas gets knocked down by Pacquiao

“I was looking to finish him,” said Pacquiao, who added another chapter to his boxing career as the first incumbent Philippine senator to win a world title. “I wanted a knockout.”

It never came, as Vargas, realizing how powerful Pacquiao’s punches were, shifted gears.

Always known as the aggressor, Vargas opted to just wait for Pacquiao to lunge in starting the fifth round.

Satisfied

Despite his failure to end a seven-year, 12-fight knockout spell, Pacquiao expressed satisfaction with the result, 118-112 twice, and a bum 114-113 count.

“I’m so happy with my performance. I wanted to win every round. Walking into the ring as a challenger energized me,” he said.

Pacquiao won the WBO title for the first time in 2010 when he beat Miguel Cotto. He lost it two years later to Timothy Bradley, then got it back by winning a rematch with Bradley in 2014.

He then lost it last year to the now-retired Floyd Mayweather Jr., who had a ringside seat for Saturday night’s bout.

The presence of Mayweather at ringside also revved up Pacquiao, now 59-6-2, with 38 knockouts.

“I noticed that he (Mayweather) was my guest,” said Pacquiao, who is trying to lure Mayweather out of retirement and fight him in a rematch.

In what was billed as the Fight of the Century on May 2, 2015, Mayweather bested Pacquiao, who suffered a right shoulder injury in the course of the bout.

Mayweather notched his 49th victory and eventually bowed out of the sport.

16 stitches

Pacquiao did not appear in the postfight press conference on Saturday as he needed 16 stitches after a collision of heads near the end of the 12th and final round.

Vargas appeared, wearing dark shades to hide the marks of the 147 shots landed by Pacquiao.

“He was very fast and very sharp,” said Vargas, who suffered his second loss in 29 bouts.


Manny Pacquiao beats Jessie Vargas to win WBO welterweight title The Legend beat The Champ via unanimous decision, potentially setting up a fight with Terence Crawford or a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Manny Pacquaio beat Jessie Vargas via unanimous decision (114-113, 118-111, 118-111) on his return to the ring to win the WBO welterweight title. Both boxers were tentative in the opening rounds but Manny swung the fight in his favour early with a flash knockdown in the second. In another cagey round, Vargas stepped in with a left hand and was caught off balance by the Filipino, who put him down with a short, snappy left to take the second. 6 NOV 2016 BY LIAM WILLIAMS DAIL MAIL UK

In the ring interview earlier, Vargas claimed Pacquiao “didn’t hurt me at all,” drawing a roar of disapproval from the crowd dominated by Filipinos with a sprinkling of Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese and Thais.

Eager to attend the Senate sessions, Pacquiao is leaving on Sunday on a private jet to catch the late night flight to Manila.

Legislative work
“I can’t wait to get back home and start my legislative work,” said Pacquiao, who expressed his readiness to come back and fight.

Had he knocked out Vargas, a slew of bigger, more rewarding bouts would have been lined up for him next year.

For now, Pacquiao’s radar is confined to Top Rank stablemates Terrence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenco and Danny Garcia as possible opponents.

Ringside guest



Unless, of course, Mayweather enters the picture.

Mayweather stopped by on Saturday to see an old foe. He took a ringside seat alongside his daughter to watch the man who helped him make untold millions when they fought here last year.

Just before the bell rang to start the fight, Pacquiao smiled and waived a fist at Mayweather.

Mayweather did not answer questions about a possible return to the ring shouted at him by writers at ringside.

“I invited him to be here tonight,” Pacquiao said, saying “we’ll see” when asked if the two could meet again.

With Mayweather watching intently from the ringside, Pacquiao worked on Vargas, systematically dismantling the former champion despite his size and reach advantage.

Pacquiao, who earned a reported $100 million in the fight against Mayweather, was guaranteed $4 million plus a percentage of the revenue of the fight.

Vargas got $2.8 million. —WITH REPORTS FROM AP AND AFP


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Lawyer: Autopsy shows ‘overkill’ in Espinosa slay Published November 6, 2016 4:25pm Updated November 7, 2016 7:27am


Lawyer: Autopsy shows 'overkill' in Espinosa slay

Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa died in a supposed "overkill" by the local police inside his detention cell, his lawyer claimed on Sunday based on an autopsy report.

Lawyer Lanie Villarino said an autopsy conducted on the remains of Espinosa showed he sustained four gunshot wounds, after being shot three times with one of the bullets went through his body.

Villarino said their camp is studying slapping charges against the police officers involved in the supposed shootout.

"Of course overkill at saka knowing mayor, hindi niya kaya iyon. We were discussing na may possibility na mag-file ng kaso. I witnessed the autopsy para makita natin na thorough ang pag-autopsy ni Dr. Lara," said Villarino.

"Possibility na natumba na siya binaril pa siya. Wasak iyong liver niya. Wala nang gastric [juice] na puwedeng gawing sample sa drug testing. Walang laman yung tiyan kasi wasak yung tiyan," the lawyer said.

READ MORE...

Villarino said the killing of Espinosa was an "overkill" because the trajectory of the bullets that hit him were downwards, indicating he was already down on his jail cell's floor when he was shot at.

A suspected "grace wound" was also found on Espinosa's head, indicating he could have been hit with a hard object.

Three slugs recovered from the detention cell could be from a 9mm pistol or a .38 revolver, the lawyer added.

"Iyong isang bala labas sa likod. Iyong isa, na-recover sa likod din. May sa ibabaw ng vertebrae at may isa sa diaphragm. Iyong slugs, isa-submit for ballistic," the lawyer said.

The camp of the slain mayor also welcomed calls for separate and parallel investigation on the shooting incident.

Initial report

Meanwhile, an initial medico legal report from the PNP's Police Regional Office 8 was released, and according to this report there were four bullet entry points on Espinosa's body: two on the chest, and two on the abdomen.

There was single exit wound, and three slugs were recovered from the body.

Espinosa also had a laceration on the head, suggesting a bullet grazed him.

There were so far no signs that Espinosa was shot at close range, though his shirt was still to be tested for gunpowder residue.

Raul Yap, who was also killed in the alleged jail shootout along with Espinosa, had four bullet entry points in the back and three exit wounds in the front of the body.

The other entry wound in the back had an upward trajectory, with the bullet entering the head. The bullet was found in the brain and recovered.

There was also a bullet wound on Yap's right lateral chest. But this was superficial, with the round failing to enter the body. It had likely fallen off.

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8, headed by Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, went to the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City on Saturday to serve search warrants on Espinosa and drug suspect Raul Yap for separate cases.

Laraga claimed the two inmates fired at them first, which prompted them to shoot back.

The search warrant on Espinosa was for violation of Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

Espinosa had been arrested for drug-related charges. The CIDG was also going to serve a search warrant on Yap for charges related to violation of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

The search warrants were issued by Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of the Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Basey, Samar. —Mark Merueñas/ALG/DVM/KG, GMA News

--------------------------

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS

Mayor Espinosa’s family still in shock, doesn’t believe he has gun inside jail cell —lawyer Published November 6, 2016 10:20am The family of Albuera, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. does not believe that the slain local chief executive was able to smuggle a firearm into his jail cell, a lawyer said Saturday.

Lanie Villarino, lawyer of the Espinosas, said the Espinosa family was still in shock after their patriarch's killing.

"How can it be possible that there are firearms inside the jail after a greyhound [check]," Villarino said.

There are reports that inspections at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City were conducted days before operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 serve search warrants on Espinosa and drug suspect Raul Yap early Saturday.

The search warrants were for an alleged firearms and drugs being kept by Espinosa and Yap inside their detention cells.

The CIDG operatives killed the two inmates for allegedly shooting at them during the search.

"We are still in shock. They (family) cannot accept what happened actually," the lawyer said.

She said the family is discussing the possibility of asking for an independent investigation into the mayor's killing.

Villarino did not say which agency will be tapped by the Espinosa family for the independent probe.

The Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigations will launch parallel investigations into the killing.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa had said he had ordered the CIDG based in Camp Crame, the PNP-Internal Affairs Service and the Police Regional Office 8 to conduct independent probes.

The PNP-Internal Affairs Service, meanwhile, said its regional office in Region 8 will conduct the investigation on the possibly administrative liability of the policemen.

Villarino, meanwhile, said that the family of Espinosa will not grant more interviews to the media.

"We appeal to the media to respect the privacy of the family. I just hope that the public will understand," she said. —report from Ronnie Roa/ALG, GMA News


GMA NEWS NETWORK

From the arrest to the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Published November 5, 2016 5:30pm


August 3, 2016: Six gunmen with suspected links to the mayor and his son are killed following an encounter with authorities around the homes of the Espinosas in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Binolho, Albuera town.

Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte in the illegal drug trade, was killed by policemen during a raid in his jail cell at the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail in Leyte early Saturday.

Espinosa, also called "Daddy Onik" by the police, had submitted himself to authorities in August after Duterte gave him and his son Kerwin 24 hours to surrender.

Duterte also gave a "shoot on sight" order against the father and son if they will fail to surrender.

The Espinosas were suspected to have links to retired police officials involved in the drugs trade and Kerwin was also said to have ties with Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, the top drug personality killed in a police operation in June.

READ MORE...

Here is a timeline of events related to the arrest of the Espinosas and the death of the mayor.

June 21, 2016: Kerwin leaves the country. He reportedly flew to Malaysia but was arrested months later in the United Arab Emirates.

August 1, 2016: Duterte gives Espinosa and Kerwin 24 hours to surrender due to suspicion about their involvement in the illegal drug trade. If they fail to surrender within 24 hours, Duterte said a “shoot-on-sight“ order will be issued against them.

August 2, 2016: Espinosa surrenders to Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa before the 24-hour deadline given by Duterte lapsed. The mayor admits that his son was a top drug trafficker and that his son allegedly received drug supply from Peter Co, who is detained at the New Bilibid Prison.

Espinosa says his son Kerwin, who was still being hunted down, had undergone plastic surgery and looked different from the photo earlier shown to the public. The PNP chief told Kerwin to surrender or die if he resists arrest.

August 3, 2016: Six gunmen with suspected links to the mayor and his son are killed following an encounter with authorities around the homes of the Espinosas in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Binolho, Albuera town.

August 4, 2016: Bato says Kerwin sent surrender feelers to authorities.

Julito Prak, Kerwin’s alleged right-hand man and who ranked fourth on the watchlist of PDEA Region 7, is killed in Cebu City. Authorities recovered .38-caliber revolver from the site and seven sachets of suspected shabu.

The CIDG Region 8 and the Albuera Police Station file criminal charges against the Espinosas.

August 5, 2016: Bato warns Kerwin that he should surrender or his family would have to face the consequences.

August 6, 2016: The Espinosas leave the "White House."

August 10, 2016: Police seize at least 11 kilograms of shabu and raw materials for bombs in a raid at the ancestral home of Espinosa in Albuera, Leyte.

August 11, 2016: Edgar Allan Alvarez, said to be one of Kerwin’s drug sources, is killed inside the Abuyog Penal Colony in Leyte.

August 16, 2016: Espinosa goes back to work as Albuera town mayor.

August 23, 2016: The Espinosas' lawyer, Rogelio Bato is killed along with his 15-year-old girl companion in an ambush in Tacloban City.

August 24, 2016: Espinosa seeks police custody and promises to bare the powerful connections of his son Kerwin.

August 27, 2016: The PNP takes custody of Espinosa due to threats to his life. This as the mayor submitted a sworn an affidavit naming other officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade in Eastern Visayas.

August 30, 2016: Jesus Tulin Jr. alias Loloy, a bodyguard of Kerwin, surrenders his firearm, .45 Colt pistol, to the police in Albuera, Leyte.

Meanwhile, Espinosa makes public some details of his affidavit, revealing that several police officials, congressmen, and a senator are among Kerwin’s cohorts in the drug trade.

August 31, 2016: The police takes custody of at least three people who could corroborate the statement of Espinosa about the cohorts of his son Kerwin.

September 13, 2016: Albuera, Leyte Police head Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido turns over to Bato documents detailing the alleged transactions of Kerwin.

September 23, 2016: Max Mero, an alleged right-hand man of Kerwin, surrenders to the Albuera police three kilos of shabu worth about P24 million.

September 26, 2016: June Canin, main man of the drug operation in Eastern Visayas and Kerwin’s ally, surrenders to Albuera police.

September 30: Kerwin’s ex-wife Annalou Llaguno is shot dead in Cebu City while riding a motorcycle with her boyfriend.

October 5, 2016: Police arrests Espinosa for alleged possession of 11.4 kilos of illegal drugs and firearms reportedly found in his home during a raid in August. The mayor was detained at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City after his arrest.

October 12, 2016: Espinosa pleads not guilty in the case concerning illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.

The firearms and ammunition were recovered from his ancestral house in August, aside from the more than P90 million pesos worth of shabu and bomb components.

Espinosa’s son Kerwin is also charged with the same offense.


FATHER AND SON

October 17, 2016: Kerwin is arrested in the United Arab Emirates and was placed in the custody of Abu Dhabi police.

October 25, 2016: Bato says it will take 15 days to a month to bring Kerwin back to the Philippines from UAE.

October 26, 2016: Two suspected members of a drug syndicate allegedly headed by Kerwin, are arrested by National Bureau of Investigation agents in Tagbilaran, Bohol.

November 2, 2016: Bato says he wants Kerwin to be detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City once he has been brought back into the country.

November 5, 2016: Espinosa and drug suspect Raul Yap are killed in a shootout inside the Baybay City Provincial Jail.

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 are serving search warrants on the two detainees for separate cases when they allegedly fired at the cops and a shootout ensued. — Veronica Pulumbarit/ALG, GMA News

------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

PNP also eyes rubout angle posted November 06, 2016 at 12:01 am by Francisco Tuyay and Mel Caspe
 


FEAR FULFILLED. File photo shows Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa speaking to Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa about his fears of being killed by drug lords against whom he would testify.

THE Philippine National Police will investigate several angles in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, including the possibility that he was ordered slain to scare his son from revealing the contents of “blue book” on the narcotics trade and traffickers.

PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa, who is in the United States to watch the boxing bout of Senator Manny Pacquiao, ordered the investigation hours after Espinosa and another inmate was killed inside the Baybay City Provincial Jail in Leyte at dawn Saturday.

Dela Rosa said police officials are concerned that the mayor was killed to discourage his son Kerwin Espinosa, who is detained in the United Arab Emirates, for possession of fake travel documents, from testifying against police officials who allegedly received drug and gambling money.

“I hope Kerwin will not be scared and will continue to reveal everything that he said in the initial testimony he gave to investigators. His statements are very crucial,” the PNP chief said in radio interviews.

He said the alleged blue book contains the identities of police officials involved in the protection of the illegal drug trade and vowed to investigate certain regional officials of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

He also ordered the CIDG-Northern Leyte team, led by Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, who was involved in the incident to stay at their headquarters pending the investigation.

“I want to know the truth. We will conduct a proper investigation. The public should not worry. Even if police officials are involved in the investigation, there will be no whitewash. We will ensure there is a clean and impartial investigation,” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa suggested that there may be a connection between the killing of Espinosa and Kerwin’s supposed source Edgar Allan Alvarez, who was also killed by policemen last August during an alleged raid inside the Leyte Regional Penitentiary in Abuyog town.

“We will include that in the investigation. We’ll find out if the same persons were involved in the deaths of Espinosa and Alvarez,” Dela Rosa said.

Laraga, for his part, insisted that detained Espinosa was killed because he lobbed a grenade at the police team that was supposedly tasked to serve a warrant of arrest against Espinosa on another case.

Laraga said the jail guard on duty barred them from entering the detention facility and his team was forced to use a bolt cutter to “break in” to the jail.

The team leader expressed confidence that he and his team will be cleared in the investigation because the CCTV cameras installed in the provincial jail will show what really happened during the supposed raid.


GMA NEWS

Aguirre: De Lima ‘common denominator’ in Espinosa slay, other killings Published November 6, 2016 5:14pm By JOSEPH TRISTAN ROXAS, GMA News


AGUIRRE, DE LIMA

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Sunday linked Sen. Leila De Lima to the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

In an interview on radio dzBB, Aguirre called De Lima the "common denominator" in the killing of a Cebu policeman who allegedly squealed on narco-generals; the fatal stabbing of alleged drug lord Tony Co inside New Bilibid Prison; and Espinosa's shooting on Saturday.

Aguirre did not name the policeman killed in Cebu, but Police Officer 2 Ryan del Castillo was found dead in Lapu-Lapu City last August after accusing Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo and retired Chief Superintendent and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot for illegal drug involvement.

"Ang lahat nang ito ay parang may common denominator... Ang protector at mga involved dito ay yung mga drug lords at protectors nito na pinangungunahan, ayon sa affidavit na ginawa ni Mayor Rolando Espinosa, si Sen. De Lima," Aguirre said.

Aguirre said that De Lima was the first person listed by Espinosa in his affidavit of illegal drug coddlers.

READ MORE...

"May affidavit si Mayor Rolando Espinosa; tinuro niya yung mga taong involved sa droga. Ang number one na enumerated niya ay si De Lima. Iisipin mo na although pulis o CIDG gumawa niyan, puwede din naman na talagang gamitin, nagpapagamit yang mga pulis na 'yan para patahimikin yung puwede mag-squeal sa kanila," he said.

Aguirre, who was in Las Vegas to watch Sen. Manny Pacquaio's fight, said that Espinosa's affidavit can no longer be used against any person because of his death.

CIDG Region 8 operatives led by Chief Inspector Leo Laraga killed Espinosa and drug suspect Raul Yap inside their jail cells while serving search warrants at the Baybay, Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail early Saturday.

Laraga claimed that they shot Espinosa and Yap in self-defense.

Aguirre said even NBP high-profile inmates, such as Jaybee Sebastian, who testified at the House probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs, attested to De Lima's influence.

"Bago magkaroon ng hearing diyan sa House committee on justice ay itong mga high profile inmates ay nagsabi na si Sen. De Lima rin ang protector sa laganap na bentahan ng droga diyan sa NBP. Dapat talagang sisirin ng malalim ito para malaman ang tunay na katotohanan," he said.

Parallel probe

Meanwhile, Aguirre ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a parallel investigation into Espinosa's killing.

"Medyo malalim ang mga pangyayaring ito and kahapon nga ay in-oder ko through my undersecretary na gumawa ng parallel investigation ang NBI para maiwasan ang whitewash dito sapagkat napakaraming circumstances sa pagkamatay ni Mayor Espinosa na dapat imbestigahan," he said.

He said several circumstances which led to the death of Espinosa should be investigated.

"Inutusan ko na sapagkat mahirap ang ganyan na suspicious ang circumstances na pabayaan natin. Kailangan talagang matutukan natin kung ano talaga ang totoo," Aguirre added.

The Philippine National Police's (PNP) Internal Affairs Service has vowed to conduct an "independent and impartial investigation" into the killing of Espinosa and Yap. — BM, GMA News

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Senate, NBI to probe Espinosa slay By Edu Punay and Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 7, 2016 - 12:00am 1 7 googleplus0 0


Relatives and friends visit the wake of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa at his residence in Sitio Tinago 2 in Barangay Binolho yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte inside the Baybay city jail last Saturday.

Aguirre said he has directed the NBI to conduct an investigation parallel to the probe of the Philippine National Police (PNP) “to avoid any suspicion of whitewash.”

The Senate is also expected to initiate an inquiry into the killing of Espinosa.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he expects resolutions to be filed today calling for an inquiry into what many senators see as the suspicious circumstances surrounding Espinosa’s death.

It was not yet clear which Senate panel will conduct the inquiry but most likely it will either be the committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, or the Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

Lacson on Saturday said the killing of Espinosa should prompt the Senate to reopen its investigation on extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

Lacson said he would ask Gordon to consider reopening the investigation in the light of the killing of Espinosa.

Gordon, on the other hand, said he would file a new resolution to investigate the Espinosa killing. He also raised his concern about the killing, which he said was “a dagger in the heart of the criminal justice system as it appears that even those who are in the custody of the law are no longer safe.”

Silenced

Aguirre stressed the NBI should step into the case since the operatives of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) were involved in the incident after Espinosa supposedly engaged them in a shootout while being served a search warrant before dawn.

Espinosa, who was tagged by President Duterte in the illegal drug trade in the Visayas, earlier surrendered to PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa for fear of his life. He was allowed to go home and was arrested last month.

His son Kerwin, who was also tagged as drug lord operating in the Visayas, has already been arrested in Abu Dhabi in the UAE last month.

Another inmate identified as Raul Yap was also killed in the supposed shootout.

Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, leader of the CIDG team, said they were forced to fire back after they were shot by Espinosa and Yap from their separate cells.

Before he was killed, Espinosa had executed an affidavit revealing the names of government officials involved in the illegal drug trade, according to Aguirre.

He said he even considered Espinosa as a possible state witness coming up with an affidavit naming the officials involved in illegal drug operations.

Espinosa reportedly implicated Sen. Leila de Lima and several congressmen and police officials among those who received drug money for protecting Kerwin’s operations.

LACSON SUSPICIOUS

Lacson, on the other hand, said he was suspicious from the start, not only because of the circumstances surrounding the incident but also because it was preceded by the killing of Espinosa’s lawyer Rogelio Bato and Edgar Allan Alvarez, an alleged henchman, several weeks back.

“Mayor Espinosa’s alleged firefight with the local CIDG raiding team cannot simply be ignored as unrelated and coincidental,” he said.

Lacson believes Espinosa was silenced as he could name high-ranking PNP and government officials as protectors of illegal drug operations. His son, Kerwin – who was also tagged by President Duterte as a drug trafficker – is in the custody of the Interpol in Dubai.

“I have good information from my sources in Leyte that Kerwin and his father shared the same records of drug payola involving police officials and other police figures, the extent of which could reach very high level, both local and national,” according to Lacson.

De Lima, for her part, supported Lacson’s call for a Senate probe even as she branded “incredulous” the statements from administration officials linking her to the Espinosa killing.

“So, CIDG is now my co-conspirators or cohort/partners in crime???” De Lima said in a text message.

She said the killing of Espinosa barely two weeks after the death of the Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom in an alleged shootout raises concerns on the circumstances of how drug personalities are being dealt with.

“It is important that we get to the bottom of these killings given the suspicious circumstances surrounding them and determine whether they are actual cases of nanlaban (fought back) or plain EJKs or more importantly, high level rubouts intended to protect public officials whom the victims might implicate as protectors of drug lords and their business,” De Lima said.

Sen. Grace Poe also shared suspicions that Espinosa was silenced.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros supported the Senate probe and described Espinosa’s killing as “awfully unsettling.”

“That Espinosa was brazenly shot dead behind bars is the height of impunity,” she said.

Hontiveros called on the government to form an independent inter-agency task force to conduct a swift and thorough investigation of the killing.

“I believe the majority of the police force is honest and trustworthy. Yet, the PNP, as an institution, cannot possibly earn the public’s trust and ease their fears if incidents like this happen in its very backyard. It also cannot realize security sector reforms under such a climate,” she said.

Not until after Malacañang however refuses to issue a statement over Espinosa’s killing, saying it would do so after all investigations are done.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said President Duterte was briefed on the killing of Espinosa but would not issue a statement until after all the investigations are concluded.

Andanar, for his part, said he is puzzled as to why Espinosa was killed.

“Personally, I’m puzzled because we know that Mayor Espinosa is a big help in the government’s campaign against those involved in illegal drugs. Mayor Espinosa is an asset to the government’s investigation on those involved, especially those in the upper echelons of the drug ring,” Andanar said.

Andanar also gave assurance that the government is working on ensuring the safety of Kerwin. – Delon Porcalla, Giovanni Nilles


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