IPPO CLAIMS: Cops intercept beer in cans in murder suspect’s hospital room

Vicente Espinosa of Ajuy, Iloilo (Photo Courtesy of Bombo Radyo Iloilo)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon


Visitors of the alleged brains in the murder of the former vice mayor of Ajuy, Iloilo tried to sneak in alcoholic drinks in his bedroom.

Police Colonel Roland Vilela, Iloilo police chief, said cops guarding the hospital room of Vicente Espinosa of Ajuy, Iloilo confiscated San Miguel beer in cans on Oct. 5 and 6, 2019.

Espinosa is on hospital arrest for two months now after he was arrested last Aug. 9, 2019 at the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town.

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

Vilela said they could not ascertain if the beer were for Espinosa.

“But if it’s not for him, the visitors could have just brought the beer somewhere else,” he said.

The cans of beer were hidden among with food brought to Espinosa’s room.

As an offshoot, Vilela immediately wrote the court to have a government physician check Espinosa’s medical status.

“I mean, if the beer was for him, if he’s fit to drink liquor, there’s no point of placing him on hospital arrest,” he said.

Once the government doctor ascertains that Espinosa is fit, Vilela said he should be remitted to a BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) facility.

The rigid check on items brought inside Espinosa’s hospital room stemmed from an inspection made by Vilela on several police stations on September 30 during the nationwide transport strike.

When Vilela went to Cabatuan Police Station, he noted that four policemen were absent from their post.

He later learned that they were detailed to guard Espinosa in the hospital. There are two policemen for each shift.

“So, tinanong ko sila kung anong ginagawa nila doon. Baka nakatunganga lang,” he said.

From there on, the police began strictly checking items brought inside Espinosa’s room,

As to the possibility that it had been going on for quite some time already, Vilela said “it’s very probable.”

“But of course, we don’t have a proof for that,” he said.

Even if the delivery of beer was justified by a celebration or special occasion, Vilela said it is still unacceptable.

“That’s beside the point. We don’t want to be accused of giving special treatment to anyone,” he said.

Vilela said removing Espinosa from hospital arrest will also be beneficial since they need more police officers in the field.

Sayang ang apat na pulis na sinuswelduhan ng gobyerno. They could have been doing something for their police station,” he said.



Espinosa was arrested on Aug. 9, three days after Judge Ma Yolanda Panguiton-Gaviño issued his arrest warrant for the murder of vice mayor Ramon Rojas.

Espinosa is the father of incumbent Board Member Carol-V Espinosa, who is a lawyer by profession.

He was tagged as the mastermind in the killing of Ajuy Vice Mayor Ramon Rojas Jr., 49, on May 22, 2008.

Espinosa and Rojas are cousins.

After the incident, there were reports pointing that Espinosa went into hiding, which he denied during his arrest.

Two motorcycle-riding men shot dead Rojas who was having his usual early morning walk in Ajuy town with Punong Barangay Armando Nacional. The gunmen left Nacional unscathed.

Police claimed that eight witnesses pinned down Espinosa as the mastermind.

A witness claimed to have heard Espinosa discuss with Lindsay Buenavista, Edgar Cordero and Dennis Cartagena at Barangay Sto. Rosario the plan to kill Rojas before his birthday on May 23.

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

Another witness claimed to have heard Espinosa talking to the other suspects and two men about the assassination plot for the price tag of P200,000.

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

He assumed that politics had something to with the killing claiming they don’t have personal conflict with Espinosa.

The political motive could have stemmed from the fact that Espinosa’s brother, Ramon, lost to Mayor Juancho Alvarez in the 2007 election.

Ramon Rojas ran under Alvarez’s ticket.

After the killing, another witness alleged that Alvarez was the next target.

The witness said that Espinosa offered him money to kill Alvarez but he declined the offer.