Leyte police says ‘narco’ mayor armed group now neutralized

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By Sarwell Q. Meniano

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) conducts another surprise “urine” drug test at Camp Karingal in Quezon City on Monday. The test was part of the new Philippine National Police leadership's efforts to cleanse the police ranks of scalawags.(MNS photo)

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) conducts another surprise “urine” drug test at Camp Karingal in Quezon City on Monday. The test was part of the new Philippine National Police leadership’s efforts to cleanse the police ranks of scalawags.(MNS photo)

TACLOBAN CITY  (PNA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has declared the neutralization of the alleged liquidation squad of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa after killing six of them in an encounter on Wednesday and seizure of assorted firearms.

Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, Albuera municipal police chief said the 3rd class town is more peaceful now following the deaths of some members of Espinosa group.

“Albuera is more peaceful now that the mayor and his son are gone and after the encounter. In fact, three hours after the firefight, some bodyguards came out and turned over several firearms,” said Espenido, who was installed as town police chief on July 18.

If it is okay for PNP Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa for the mayor to return and function as chief executive, Espenido said it would be better for the father to quit his post.

“It’s better for him to resign since he’s not fit to lead a local government unit. Everybody knows that he’s engaged in illegal drugs and leads a liquidation squad,” the official told reporters.

The band of private armies is allegedly led by the mayor and his son, Rolando, Jr. known as “Kerwin.”

At least six of them were killed during an encounter with the police early Wednesday morning.

The police identified those killed in shootout as Ricky Gravillo of Albuera, Teresito Laro Paderanga of Zamboanga del Sur, Richard Mato of Zamboanga del Sur, an alias Tatay from Mindanao, an alias Arman from Mindanao, and one unidentified bodyguard.

“They are members of the liquidation squad. They don’t even wear bonnets when they commit crimes since they are confident that no one recognizes them,” Espenido added.

The armed group are reportedly behind the killings of the town’s former police chief, a newly elected town councilor and a police asset. These killings took place between May to July this year.

On Thursday, the police regional office presented to the media some 21 assorted long firearms, 16 short firearms, hand grenade, and ammunitions recovered after the fire fight, buy-bust operation and some were turned over by alleged members of the Espinosa group who surrendered to authorities.

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