Bato: Marcos, 18 others have yet to serve suspension
MANILA, Philippines - Controversial Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other police officers implicated in the killing of mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte had not yet served their suspension before they were allowed to go back to duty, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa bared yesterday.
Dela Rosa said Marcos and his group were out on bail when they filed their motion for reconsideration (MR) on the suspension order for their alleged involvement on the killing of Espinosa. “So meantime, they are on duty, status since their leave of absence was automatically terminated when they posted bail bond,” he said.
“So he’s back at full duty status that’s why he can be assigned anywhere,” Dela Rosa added. President Duterte ordered the PNP to reinstate Marcos and the 18 other policemen charged with homicide for the killing of Espinosa and another inmate Raul Yap on Nov. 5, 2016 inside the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City.
Espinosa was detained for alleged drug trafficking.
The agents claimed Espinosa fought back when they were trying to serve a search warrant to recover guns from the mayor’s cell inside the Baybay jail.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, had denounced the reinstatement of Marcos and his men, saying this aggravated the already weak administrative penalties imposed by the police Internal Affairs Service (IAS) on Marcos and his men.
“It is not even a reinstatement. Rather, it was back-to-duty status after serving his four-month suspension order incorporated in a ‘slap-on-the-wrist’ administrative penalty,” Lacson lamented.
The National Bureau of Investigation recommended that murder charges be filed against Marcos and his men but the Department of Justice (DOJ), which has supervision over the bureau, downgraded the charges to homicide and allowed the accused police officers to post bail.
Dela Rosa on Thursday announced the reinstatement of Marcos following the announcement of President Duterte that he wants the police officer back in service.
He said the IAS is still reviewing the motion for reconsideration filed by Marcos and his 18 co-accused in the killing of the Albuera mayor. Dela Rosa said once the MR is resolved and their motion denied, the PNP would implement the decision of the IAS that could include a four-month suspension. As for the other police officers, Dela Rosa said they could be demoted. The Senate will investigate the reinstatement of Marcos and the other accused policemen.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said that the DOJ and its prosecutors would have to explain the decision downgrading the murder charges filed against Marcos and his men to homicide if a Senate inquiry is conducted.
Pimentel said that the IAS should also explain how it treats officers involved in serious crimes like the killing of inmates in their cells.
Pimentel noted that after the committee on public order and dangerous drugs conducted its inquiry into the incident, the Senate concluded that Espinosa was murdered.
“From our point of view, murder was committed,” said Pimentel.
For downgrading the charges of the police officers to homicide, Pimentel said that the DOJ must be able to defend its decision in the new hearing or during the budget deliberations later this year.
Lacson, who chairs the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said that he will call for a hearing on the various bills related to the IAS and bring up the issue of Marcos and his men.
“In the continuing investigation and public discussion of this matter, we cannot avoid discussing the PNP’s policies on discipline, internal affairs, the treatment of officers facing serious criminal cases and human rights,” Pimentel said.
Meanwhile, the PNP has cancelled the suspension order for Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, a police official said Monday.
Supt. Lemuel Gonda, Region 10 police spokesman, said the 90-day preventive suspension of Espenido had been cancelled effective July 13.
Gonda did not provide additional details on the order from Camp Crame except that they will wait for further advice from the PNP leadership.
“We will just wait if there is an order [to cancel or carry it out]. We are just the implementing agency,” Gonda said.
The suspension order stemmed from the complaint filed by Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez against Espenido in 2016 for alleged connection to the drug operations of the late Albuera mayor Espinosa.
Espenido said that he has yet to receive a copy of the cancellation of the suspension order, although he will comply with any order from his higher-ups. – With Marvin Sy, Gerry Lee-Gorit