Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 8 Regional Chief Marvin Marcos told CNN Philippines that an informant told Leyte CIDG 8 provincial officer Leo Laraga that Espinosa had a .45 caliber pistol inside his cell at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City, while inmate, Raul Yap, was involved in illegal drug transactions.
Laraga then went to a judge to apply for the search warrants, which were released Friday afternoon and were carried out at around 4 a.m. Saturday.
Marcos said jail guards resisted and prevented the 15 CIDG operatives from carrying out the search warrants. It took them 15 minutes to enter the jail cells, which he said gave Espinosa and Yap time to prepare for the search.
The officer said a shootout ensued during the operation.
"Pagpasok pa lang ng operatiba natin, pinaputukan na po sila. Dun po nagkaron po ng desisyon yung mga kapulisan natin na gumanti ng putok. Na resulta po ng ikinamatay ni Mayor Espinosa at Raul Yap," Marcos said.
[Translation: When our operatives entered, they were fired at. That was when our police decided to retaliate. This led to the deaths of Espinosa and Raul Yap.]
Marcos also explained the need to serve a search warrant for Espinosa and Yap despite being detained in prison.
"Nagkakaroon ng pagkakataon na nagbibigay ng search warrant based sa credible deponent kapag mayroong krimen na nangyayari sa loob ng isang facility, gaya ng isang jail, tulad ng pagpapasok ng droga, pagpapasok ng baril. Dapat kasama po ito sa iniimbestigahan kasi minsan ito ay tino-tolerate ng mga miyembro ng jail facilities," he said.
[Translation: There are cases a search warrant is given if a credible source says a crime is happening inside a facility, such as jails, like when illegal drugs or firearms are brought in. It is included in what should be investigated because sometimes members of jail facilities tolerate it.]
The Scene Of The Crime Operatives (SOCO) has so far recovered two firearms from the scene of the incident. He said Espinosa used a .38 Super gun.
The CIDG said the SOCO was able to recover several sachets containing suspected shabu, suspected dried marijuana leaves, and assorted drug paraphernalia.