A senate hearing was conducted on Thursday, November 10, 2016 along with the members of the Philippine National Police Region 8. The main purpose of the hearing was to arraign the case of slain ex-Mayor of Albuera town in Leyte Province. Along with the PNP Region 8 Police are the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region (CIDG) Eastern Visayas or Region 8 personnel. These two group police personnel were summoned by the Senators of the Philippines to explain the mysterious death of former mayor of Albuera while he was still detained inside Leyte sub-Provincial Jail.
The most intriguing issue that was raised during the hearing was when the name of actor Richard Gomez surfaced by the members of the CIDG 8. CIDG 8 Chief Inspector Leo Laraga indicated that Richard Gomez is one of the protectors of Espinosa narcotics group who is currently operating in Western Visayas region. Laraga was interviewed by Senator Vicente Sotto III and made a follow-up question on who else can be involved in the case of ex-Mayor Rolando Espinosa. Along with Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, 3rd District Congressman of Leyte Vicente Veloso, and Baybay City Mayor Michael Cari were also tagged as the protectors of Espinosa narcotics syndicate.
|Ormoc City Mayor and Celebrity Actor Richard Gomez
Laraga's statements were regarded as speculations during the Senate committee joint investigation to pursue with the crackdown on war on illegal narcotics trade in the country. The four politicians that were mentioned were allegedly responsible for cuddling several syndicates operating across the Eastern Visayas Region aside from Leyte province. These four politicians are then thought to be responsible for obstructing justice while the local and national government are now cracking down on users and pushers of illegal substances.
The senators who were present during the senate inquiry on November 10, 2016 will have to conduct another separate investigation regarding the four politicians tagged by Laraga. This will be done in a separate inquiry to acquire more information in connection with the death of former Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. Aside from the case of Espinosa, the four politicians will also asked by the Senate to determine the vast extent of operations by illegal syndicates operating in their respective political jurisdiction. They will expect that actor-politician Richard Gomez will appear under the senate inquest hearing and will participate with the inquiry.
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When Senator Vicente Sotto asked CIDG 8 Chief Inspector Laraga why they should have to apply and render a search warrant inside the Samar Court, Laraga indicated that it is the only way to bypass the protection of other narco-politicians in the region. Leyte is under the supervision and protection of several narco-politicians, that is why syndicates are freely operating across the region without being at risk for being apprehended. The CIDG was mentioned by Larage to have just been doing their job to seek justice from any wrongdoing.
Richard Gomez responded with the allegations by the CIDG 8 Chief Inspector after he was informed that his name was tagged. Mayor just indicated that the allegations against him was false and denied all the accusations that was being pointed out against him. Richard Gomez has just been elected as a Mayor of Ormoc City and took his oath of office on June 30, 2016. The allegations was just mere speculations without a clear evidence to support their claims. Richard Gomez was not enlisted as part of the narco-politics that was mentioned by Rodrigo Duterte as part of his war on anti-narcotics campaign.
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Mayor Espinosa was tagged as one of the most notorious narco-politicians listed by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. He surrendered last August and then released by the authorities weeks after. He was then arrested last September due to numerous pending cases related to the use and distribution of illegal narcotics. On November 5, 2016, Mayor Rolando Espinosa was then shot by the members of police personnel who raided inside the sub-provincial jail in Leyte at 4 in the morning while serving their search warrants.
Persons of interests who were the last that made in contact with ex-Mayor were the the CIDG 8 personnel. The defense of these personnel was that ex-Mayor allegedly attempted to grab the firearms in one of the personnels who raided the cell where he was currently sleeping at 4 in the morning of November 8. The personnel of CIDG 8 including its chief was then relieved from office due to allegations of murder.
Kerwin Espinosa, the son of the slain mayor made an emotional breakdown inside the jail while he received the news about his father's murder. Kerwin's uncontrollable breakdown extended the allocated time where he is supposed to be allowed to render his visiting hours. He is expected to be deported back to the Philippines to face illegal narcotics raps against him.
*Read related article: Who is Albuera Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa tagged in Illegal narcotics trade