Paglanding ng eroplano! Police arrest Iloilo vice mayor killing brains

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After 11 years, the alleged mastermind in the killing of a vice mayor of an Iloilo town was arrested at the Iloilo International Airport.

Vicente Espinosa had just arrived from Manila on board a Cebu Pacific plane around 1:50 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, when police arrested him.

Espinosa is the subject of an arrest warrant issued last Aug. 6 by Iloilo Regional Trial Court Judge Ma. Yolanda Panguiton-Gaviño.

He is charged for the murder of former Ajuy vice mayor Ramon Rojas Jr. on May 22, 2008. Espinosa denied he was in hiding in the last 11 years.

Operatives of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB), IPPO Provincial Special Group, and Cabatuan Police Station served a warrant of arrest to Espinosa for murder.

Police Major Jonathan Pinuela, IPPO-PIB/PSOG chief, said Espinosa did not flinch when they arrested him. “He said he foresaw that possibility,” Pinuela said.

But Pinuela declined to reveal the names of Espinosa’s co-accused in the arrest warrant.

Also, Pinuela said he was not aware how the case went but they only got a copy of the arrest warrant a few days ago.

Espinosa is the father of incumbent Iloilo Provincial Board Member Carol-V Espinosa, a lawyer by profession. Espinosa and Rojas are cousins.

Court records showed two motorcycle-riding men gunned down Rojas who was having his early morning walk in Ajuy with Punong Barangay Armando Nacional. Nacional was unscathed.

Police had claimed that eight witnesses tagged Espinosa as the mastermind of Rojas’ murder.

A witness claimed to have heard Espinosa talking to Lindsay Buenavista, Edgar Cordero, and Dennis Cartagena at Barangay Sto. Rosario about the plan to kill Rojas.

Cordero and Cartagena were named as principal suspects in the killing of Rojas.

Another witness claimed to have heard Espinosa talking the assassination plot and the P200,000 reward to the gunmen.

Ajuy Mayor Jett Rojas, who was at that time a board member, also believed that Espinosa is behind the killing of his cousin.

He believed that politics had something to with the killing as they don’t have personal conflicts with Espinosa.