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Sueno: Pardon for cops hyperbole

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno. KING RODRIGUEZ/PPD

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno. KING RODRIGUEZ/PPD

That was President Duterte with his trademark hyperbole.

Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno on Sunday came to the President’s defense, saying his statement that he would pardon and promote the policemen who killed Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in November should not be taken literally.

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Sueno said the President had not interfered in the investigation of the case that led to the filing of murder charges against 19 Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) members, led by their former head, Supt. Marvin Marcos.

“(The President) is a good communicator so sometimes he uses hyperbole to communicate (but) he did not intervene (in the case). He did not call the judges or prosecutors. He just let them be,” Sueno said in a radio interview.

“Let the accused answer in courts the accusations against them. If they are convicted, then they are convicted,” he said.

Marcos and his coaccused were placed under the custody of the police after the Baybay, Leyte Regional Trial Court issued arrest warrants against them for the killing of Espinosa, a suspected drug lord, and another inmate, Raul Yap, in the Baybay sub-provincial jail on Nov. 5, 2016.

The National Bureau of Investigation called the killing a rubout.

Sueno said the President only wanted to express his anger against drug lords when he said he would pardon and promote the policemen involved in killing Espinosa.

“His message there is, ‘If you’re really a drug lord…’ He is really angry at drug lords because these drug lords have killed a lot of people and destroyed the future of many children,” Sueno said.

“So, what he is saying there is, ‘Don’t become drug lords because I will side with my policemen who can catch you, arrest you,’” he said.

The other defendants in the case were Supt. Santi Noel G. Matira, Chief Insp. Leo D. Laraga, SPO4 Melvin M. Cayobit, PO3 Johnny A. Ibañez, Chief Insp. Calixto C. Canillas Jr., SPO4 Juanito A. Duarte, PO1 Lloyd O. Ortigueza, Senior Insp. Fritz B. Blanco, PO1 Bhernard R. Orpilla, Senior Insp. Deogacias P. Diaz III, SPO2 Benjamin L. Dacallos, PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa, PO1 Jerlan S. Cabiyaan, Insp. Lucrecito A. Candilosas, SPO2 Antonio R. Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo, PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan and PO2 Jaime P. Bacsal.

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Sueno said he had talked to Catholic bishops to explain to them the government’s antidrug campaign. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had denounced the “reign of terror” in the war on drugs.

“We are not hiding anything. I have talked to several bishops. We have explained to them the thinking of our President so we are for truth. We welcome them,” he said.

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