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Return of CIDG’s Marcos pre-arranged — Drilon
MANILA, Philippines - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon expressed the belief yesterday that the release of Supt. Marvin Marcos and his men after killing Albuera, mayor Rolando Espinosa in a Leyte jail last year was arranged from the very start.
Drilon noted the Philippine National Police (PNP) Internal Affairs Service (IAS)’s argument that Marcos was not physically present when Espinosa was killed inside his jail cell in the province last November by policemen supposedly serving a search warrant before dawn.
Drilon said it would appear there was a “plan” to reduce the accused police officers’ penalties and reinstate them to the service.
The opposition senator pointed out that Marcos was some distance away directing the raid that also led to the killing of another inmate, Raul Yap.
“That’s why it’s called a conspiracy, because (Marcos) directed the operations,” Drilon told dzBB.
“There’s a conspiracy and a design from the start to downgrade (murder charges) and reinstate an officer,” he said.
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Marcos and his subordinates were recommended to be charged with murder but Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II downgraded the charges to homicide, which allowed the suspects to post bail.
Last week, President Duterte disclosed he had them reinstated.
PNP officials said the accused police officers have already served their suspension so they can be reinstated.
“The plan was not to charge them with murder because it’s non-bailable,” Drilon said.
He said the effect of Aguirre’s move was that the judge who will be hearing the case may only convict those charged with homicide – not murder – even if there is strong evidence for the graver charge.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on justice, also took issue with the IAS’ claim of mitigating circumstances, such as the awards and citations Marcos and his men had accumulated in their respective careers.
He said it was the first time he heard that awards and citations can be considered as mitigating circumstances in such a case.
He said it was not too late for Duterte to reconsider his order to reinstate Marcos and his men to blunt the outrage over his move seen by many as protecting those responsible for extrajudicial killings.
Gordon chided Aguirre and the PNP leadership for not properly advising Duterte what to do with Marcos and his men.
“I’m angry. Somebody has to tell the emperor that he has no clothes,” Gordon told dzBB.
He said Aguirre and PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa could have pursued murder charges against Marcos and his subordinates and left it to the courts to decide instead of downgrading the charges to homicide.
“The President was wrong,” the senator said. “He should have left the decision to the judge.”
He reiterated that Aguirre told senators during a hearing on the Espinosa incident that he thought that it was a case of “premeditated killing.”
On the other hand, Dela Rosa has all the powers to summarily dismiss Marcos and his men but did not do so, Gordon lamented.
“We have a culture here of what the king says, we follow,” he said.
He warned that Duterte’s credibility may slowly be eroded by his move.
“He might be harmed by his hard-headedness or the bad advice given to him,” Gordon said.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said if given a chance, he would appeal to Duterte to have the accused charged to the fullest extent.
“I hope he (Duterte) will not risk his mandate, or risk the support of the people because of these kind of issues,” Ejercito said.