WATCH | Bato says Marvin Marcos’ liberty a ‘victory for me,’ but 2 senators smell something fishy

June 20, 2017 - 3:01 PM
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File photos of Police Supt. Marvin Marcos, PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa, amnd senators Risa Hontiveros and Franklin Drilon/Philstar

MANILA, Philippines – One is happy but two others are protesting about Police Supt. Marvin Wynn’s Marcos’ recent release from prison.

For Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the Baybay City Regional Trial Court’s downgrading of the charges against the Eastern Visayas police officer accused in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Jr. that allowed him to post bail is a welcome news.

“From (my) point of view as a commander, who wants to seek for the welfare of his men, well that’s a victory for me,” Dela Rosa told reporters on Monday.

But for opposition senators Franklin Drilon and Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, Marcos’ temporary liberty on a P40,000-bail is something upsetting and reeks of something fishy.

“The abrupt downgrading of the case against Supt. Marvin Marcos and his cohorts from murder to homicide is a big blow to the justice system in the country,” Drilon said in a statement

“This is a very disappointing development insofar as the ability of the government to prevent and prosecute police abuses and irregularities is concerned,” he added.

READ RELATED STORY: Cop accused in slay of Leyte mayor Espinosa freed after posting P40-K bail

Hontiveros meanwhile, blamed Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre’s move that paved the way for Marcos’ release, saying, it was “an act of impunity to cover up another act of impunity.”

According to the senator, prior to the downgrading of charges against Marcos and his co-accused, Aguirre’s department issued a resolution in March 2017 supporting the findings of both the Senate and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that the Espinosa killing was a clear case of premeditated murder.

The NBI earlier filed multiple murder and perjury cases against Marcos and 23 other members of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Region 8 in connection with the November 2016 slay of Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap while they were detained at the Baybay Provincial Jail in Leyte.

The NBI said its forensic findings were consistent with testimonial evidence that the killings were premeditated and that the victims were defenseless when they were slain.

‘From fake news king to flip-flip king’

Hontiveros said the DOJ’s approval of the downgrading of charges against Marcos and his men was “an obvious attempt at a cover up through an unabashed flip-flop.”

“From being the fake news king of Padre Faura, Secretary Aguirre is also now immortalized as the DoJ’s flip-flop king, a would-be absolver of murderers,” she added.

But Dela Rosa on Monday said “we have to respect whatever the decision” was on Marcos’ case.

“This is how our criminal justice system works. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” the PNP chief added.

For Drilon, the court’s decision to downgrade charges against Marcos was “an insult to the Senate.”

The minority leader also assailed Aguirre’s turnaround despite “ample evidence” against Marcos and his co-accused. Drilon said this would only “fuel speculations and fears of a growing police impunity in the country.”

“Secretary Aguirre told us under oath here in the Senate that he himself considers the killing as premeditated. He even pointed out that the conduct of Espinosa’s arrest was not consistent with the PNP’s procedures,” the senator said.

“In particular, Aguirre said it was ‘unusual’ that a warrant was obtained belatedly or one week after receiving information that there was a weapon inside Espinosa’s cell and that the warrant was served at 4:30 in the morning. Aguirre said that if the police had nothing to hide, the search would usually be conducted during daytime,” added Drilon.

Sacked then reinstated the same day

Last December 5, Dela Rosa, during a Senate hearing, testified that in mid-October of the same year, he had sacked Marcos as chief of the PNP-CIDG in Region 8 after Kerwin Espinosa, the son of the Albuera, Leyte mayor, told authorities that Marcos was allegedly a recipient of drug money.

But on the same day that he was terminated, Marcos was ordered reinstated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The chief executive, also last December, admitted ordering Dela Rosa to reinstate Marcos. He said he had told the PNP chief via a phone call to “not remove the guy (Marcos)” because the latter was part of an “investigative job” that Duterte was doing.

Weeks later, on November 5, Mayor Espinosa was killed inside his detention cell allegedly by Marcos and his men.

Later in the same month, Kerwin, a suspected drug lord, testified in the Senate that he had given P8 million to Sen. Leila de Lima for her 2016 senatorial campaign through the lawmaker’s former driver and partner Ronnie Dayan.

De Lima was arrested on February 24 this year and detained at the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City after drug-related charges were filed against her before a Muntinlupa court by the DOJ.

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