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Panelo reminds detractors of Supt. Marcos’ right to be presumed innocent

/ 07:10 AM July 28, 2017

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo. NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Supt. Marvin Marcos is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court, according to chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo.

Panelo spoke to reporters a day after senators insisted on the prosecution of Marcos for murder instead of homicide, as the Department of Justice had recommended, in connection with the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte province, in November 2016. This allowed Marcos to post bail and return to service.

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President Duterte has tagged Espinosa as a drug lord in Eastern Visayas. Espinosa was detained on drug charges at the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City when he and another inmate were gunned down in a predawn warrant raid by a police team led by Marcos on Nov. 5 last year

“The problem is, ever since, which is a wrong concept and wrong application, our country never observed the constitutional presumption of innocence,” Panelo said on Thursday.

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Marcos is back in the Philippine National Police as regional director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

He is likely to be promoted to senior superintendent after six months, according to senators who suspected that the PNP is coddling Marcos and his cohorts and covering up what they had done.

“I think the promotion will be done if you do something new, not because you had killed someone. In the first place, we don’t know if he’s the one who killed [Espinosa] or not. Nobody knows what happened there,” Panelo said.

“That’s precisely why they were being charged, because that’s the speculation. You have to prove that in court beyond reasonable doubt,” he added.

Asked about the likelihood of promotion for Marcos, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said: “It’s better to just let him do his job first and perform, and see if there is any veracity for the new assignment. So it’s really quite premature [to comment],” Abella said in a press briefing.

According to Panelo, the problem was that people treat those facing charges as if they had already been found guilty.

He defended Marcos’ reinstatement.

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“What happened was they have judged him guilty. Everyone has become biased. That’s the problem,” Panelo said.

“What the President is saying, why can’t I reinstate him when we’re paying his salary? Besides, there is the presumption of innocence,” he added.  But should Marcos be found guilty, he said the President would not tolerate him, he added.

On Thursday, Sen. JV Ejercito expressed hope that Marcos would go on voluntary leave.

He said in a tweet to reporters that Marcos had become a “liability … too hot to handle” for the PNP.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the committee investigating Marcos, said what Ejercito suggested was “a waste of time.”

“He shouldn’t have accepted the assignment in the first place if he had the wisdom and sensitiveness to save his superiors and the PNP as an institution from criticisms,” Lacson said of Marcos. —WITH A REPORT FROM CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO

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TAGS: Philippine news updates, Rolando Espinosa Sr., Salvador Panelo, Supt. Marvin Marcos
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