‘Let’s watch what DOJ will do on mayor’s slay’
With President Duterte insisting anew he would side with the Leyte policemen charged with the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Tuesday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) now faces a challenge in acting on the findings of the preliminary investigation of the case.
Lacson reminded the President that he had also said he would go by the evidence of the DOJ and had even acknowledged that once a case had been filed against Supt. Marvin Marcos and his men from the Criminal Investigative and Detection Group-Region 8, it would be up to the court to decide on their guilt or not.
The President last Monday said he would support the police and believe them despite the committee report of the Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs as well as the justice and human rights, which concluded that Marcos and his men were guilty of murdering Espinosa to cover up their links with his son Kerwin in the illegal drug trade.
The committee report also said that the Leyte policemen were guilty of grave abuse of authority when they entered the Baybay sub-provincial jail last Nov. 5, 2016, for a supposedly legitimate police operation against Espinosa. It also warned President Duterte against micromanaging the police after he rescinded an order of Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa that sought to relieve them from their posts after Espinosa’s killing.
Asked whether the President’s latest statement in defense of the Leyte policemen would sway the outcome of the DOJ preliminary investigation on Marcos and his men, Lacson recalled what he had said in last Monday’s session when he sponsored the committee report on Espinosa’s killing that “it bears watching what the DOJ will do.”
“The way we see it based on the evidence that the National Bureau of Investigation itself, which is under the DOJ, it’s clear that it’s an open and shut case so that if this is reversed, I will cross the bridge when I get there. It’s because I cannot see how this can be reversed given the overwhelming evidence (against Marcos and his men),” Lacson told reporters.
At Monday’s session, Lacson said during interpellation by Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon that he might join the Senate minority should the DOJ resolution on Marcos and his men find them guilty of premeditated murder of Espinosa but this finding ends up being appealed before the Office of the President.
Lacson’s committee report was still being deliberated on the floor and up for plenary adoption.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, meanwhile, said he did not know whether some senators would “take into consideration the pronouncement of the President.
“The better thing to do is read the report,” Pimentel told reporters.
For Sen. Grace Poe, the President’s statement in defense of the policemen were just his own opinion, reminding him that it would be the court that would decide who was at fault.