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Bato: Duterte 'intimated' Marcos, other cops should be reinstated
Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said that the order to reinstate Supt. Marcos and 18 other officers came from President Rodrigo Duterte. The STAR/Mong Pintolo
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa on Wednesday admitted that President Rodrigo Duterte “intimated” to him that an officer suspended over the killing of a detained Leyte mayor should be reinstated.
Dela Rosa admitted before a Senate panel investigating the reinstatement of Superintendent Marvin Marcos and 18 other police officers charged over the killing for former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another inmate set a bad example for others in the police service.
The Philippines’ top cop, popularly known in the Philippines as "Bato", however said that as a policeman, he was trained to follow orders. In this case, he was acceding to a directive from Duterte to reinstate Marcos, who was the chief of the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group that conducted the search on Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa's cell.
Police claimed Espinosa was shot because he fought it out with officers conducting the search.
“The president always intimated to me, whenever we talk, he said that kung puwede nang pagtrabahuhin 'yang mga taong 'yan, wala nang nagba-bar sayo. Patrabahuhin na yan, sayang sumusuweldo mga tao na yan, pera ng gobyerno, suweldo nila tapos wala silang ginagawa,” said Dela Rosa, the burly chief of Philippine police whose likeness is also the organization's mascot.
Early in July, Duterte ordered the reinstatement of Marcos and 18 police officers involved in the operation that led to the death of Espinosa and inmate Raul Yap despite the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Senate that the killings were extrajudicial.
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The president said that since Marcos had already served his suspension he should now be returned to active service. Marcos has since been appointed by the PNP as the new head of the regional police office of Region 12.
This reinstatement did now sit well with Sen. Grace Poe.
She questioned Dela Rosa on why Marcos had to be given such a plum post and asked if there were no other qualified candidates for the position.
Poe, who was defeated by Duterte in last year’s presidential elections, said that the assignment of Marcos to the same post in another region could embolden him.
“Siguro, mas walang habas na kung saka-sakali na lalakas ang loob nyan,” Poe told Dela Rosa.
'Bato' to take responsibility for Marcos' actions
The top cop said that he would take responsibility for the actions of Marcos in office. He pleaded with the senators to give Marcos another chance. He also claimed that the president's order boosted the morale of his men.
On being assigned to another police unit, Dela Rosa said: “Pareho lang yun, your honor, kung gusto talagang mangotong, kung gusto talagang magloko, makakagawa.”
In November last year, Espinosa and Yap were gunned down inside their detention facilities after they allegedly fought back against policemen serving a warrant during the wee hours of the morning.
Espinosa, who was jailed in a Baybay City, Leyte jail, was on the president’s list of politicians allegedly involved in the trade of illegal drugs in the country.
The reinstatement of Marcos and 18 other police officers under him was met with consternation and anger especially from senators.
A senate panel that probed into the case said that the killing was premeditated and said that the policemen involved in the operation was trying to conceal their involvement in the trade of illegal drugs.