SEVERAL Philippine senators aired their dismay over the decision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to reinstate Superintendent Marvin Marcos and 18 other police officers, despite their alleged involvement in the murder of former Albuera Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and one inmate killed inside their jail cells in Baybay City, Leyte on Nov. 25, 2016.
Citing PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed that Police Superintendent Marvin Marcos “has served suspension and is eligible to be back to duty,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Thursday, July 13.
“The case, however, may be appealed to the National Police Commission,” Abella said.
The decision irked Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, who threw a foul invective when asked for his response on the decision.
“There is a phrase to describe this whole damn thing: Put*ng I*a!” Lacson said in a text message to reporters.
“There are bills pending concerning IAS reorganization and other matters related thereto. I will call a hearing immediately after we resume session and part of the discussion will center on the Marcos issue,” Lacson stressed.
Lacson is the chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs that led the investigation of the slay of Espinosa and Raul Yap, an inmate.
Detrimental to police force
The PNP decision did not play well with Committee on Justice chairman Senator Richard Gordon either.
“Sinabi ‘yan ni Bato noon na galit siya sa ginawa ni Marcos (Bato said in the past that he’s angry at what Marcos did) but he should have stayed the course and he should have told the President,” Gordon said on his offiie during an interview with media on Thursday
Gordo said that the people around the president should respect him by giving him a sound advice and “telling the truth” .
“Si Bato, dapat managot,” Gordon added.
“Ang hirap sa PNP hindi nila ina-advise-an ang Presidente. Dapat sinasabi nila na nakakasama sa police force ‘yang ginawa niyang ‘yan,” he added.
“They are exploiting his feelings. Ayaw nilang humarap. Ayaw nilang magsabi na, ‘Boss, mali ‘yan’ (They don’t want to face him. They don’t want to say, ‘Boss, that’s wrong’),” Gordon said.
“I respect the President but I must say that people around him should pay him a lot more respect by telling him the truth,” he added.
Aside from Dela Rosa, Gordon also lambasted Justice sectetary Vitaliano Aguirre for downgrading the case against Espinosa and 18 other police men from murder into homicide.
“May kahinaan ng ulo ‘yung mga nakapaligid sa kanya. Mukhang hindi nagpractice ng abogasya (Thse around him are ineffective, It looks like he did not undergo law practice),” he said.
“Kung talagang marunong ‘yang si Aguirre, hinayaan nila ang husgado na litisin yan eh. Bakit kailangang pakialaman ng Pangulo? (If Aguirre is really that intelligent, he should have let the justices do their job).” he said.
“I’m upset. Disappointed is a very weak word. I’m chagrined. There are many people who are victims of injustice here,” Gordon concluded.
Another Duterte critic, Senator Chiz Escudero stated that the administration missed the opportunity to prove to public their intolerance on the authority’s abuses in the light of waging war against drugs.
“I still believe that not pursuing cases against Marcos and treating him with kid gloves is a wasted opportunity for the Administration to show and prove to the international community and their critics that it will not stand for abusive policemen and those who do shortcuts in violation of existing law in the performance of their duties,” he said.
“This would have been a perfect opportunity to show too that the government will not tolerate any abuses, especially on the part of state actors and law enforcement officials, in its war against drugs,” Escudero added.
Meanwhile, Dela Rosa argued that the development in the case against Marcos and 18 other policemen is what the law accordingly dictates.
“It is not even a reinstatement. Rather, it was back-to-duty status after serving his (Marcos) four-month suspension order incorporated in a ‘slap-on-the-wrist’ administrative penalty imposed on Marcos by the PNP IAS (PNP Internal Affairs Service) and subsequently approved by CPNP Dela Rosa,” he said.
The Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the PNP recommended in April the demotion and suspension of the 19 police officers involved in the death of Espinosa.
However, as early as December Duterte voiced out his support for the policemen who “did their duty.”
Recently, during the 26th anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology on Wednesday, Duterte said Marcos should be reinstated because he was not part of the team that went to Espinosa’s jail cell.
“Marcos was suspended. He has served his suspension,” Duterte said.
“Sabi ko, ‘Ibalik ninyo sa trabaho ‘yang mama na ‘yan. Wala naman doon ‘yan eh (I said ‘reinstate him. He was not there. He was too far away here.’ He was not part of the raiding team),” he added.
Duterte reiterated that he would never allow a soldier or a policeman to land in jail for doing his duty and for obeying his orders.
The other 18 policemen involved in the case were Supt. Santi Noel Matira; Chief Insp. Leo Larraga; Senior Insp. Fritz Blanco; Senior Insp. Deogracias Diaz; Insp. Lucredito Candilosas; SPO4 Melvin Cayubit; PO3 Johnny Ibañez; SPO4 Juanito Duarte; PO1 Lloyd Ortigueza; PO1 Bhernard Orpilla; SPO2 Benjamin Dacallos; PO3 Norman Abellanosa; PO1 Jerlans Cabiyaan; PO1 Clixto Canillas Jr; SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo; PO2 John Ruel Doculan; SPO2 Antonio Docil; and PO2 Jaime Dacsal.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas said a shootout ensued after the mayor resisted arrest. Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) however concluded the killing was premeditated.