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Palace: Ready for Senate probe of reinstatement

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling and Francis T. Wakefield

Malacañang said yesterday it is ready to cooperate with the Senate’s planned investigation into the reinstatement of policemen implicated in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. at the Leyte sub-provincial jail Baybay City last year.

“The government through the PNP will cooperate with any investigation. We have always participated in any hearings and we will continue to abide by that,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Former Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) chief Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other policemen facing homicide charges for the death of Espinosa have been allowed to return to duty upon the orders of President Duterte. The administrative case against Marcos and his team has reportedly been resolved in their favor.

Several senators have denounced the President’s decision, raising concerns it promotes a culture of impunity among erring cops.

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs would conduct an investigation into the matter.

Malacañang justified anew that Marcos is already eligible to return to duty after serving his suspension. Abella also said the President respects and abides by the rule of law.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos reiterated yesterday that Marcos and the 18 policemen are not yet off the hook.

Carlos reiterated that despite the 19 policemen reverting to duty status, the criminal aspect of their case remains.

He said that the 19 policemen were only cleared in the administrative part of their case.

“Klaruhin natin kasi akala nila doon nagtatapos. Patuloy ho ‘yung kaso na criminal. Haharap pa rin ho sila sa kasong homicide kay Mayor Espinosa at Raul Yap,” Carlos said. “Well I will use the term they were reverted to duty status,” he added.

Carlos said the downgrading of their case from murder to homicide allowed Marcos and his men to post bail and their leave of absence lifted.

“So we can clarify how things happened. When Marcos et al 19 of them were charged with the crime of murder and warrants of arrest were issued, the officers were detained automatically. Their status is now on leave of absence,” Carlos said.

“So when the case was downgraded to homicide and allowed them the right to post bail, the leave of absence status of these PNP personnel was lifted. Thus with the lifting of the LoA, they were placed on duty status,” he added.

“Since the leave of absence was lifted, the 18 PNP personnel were returned to their units on duty status and Marcos was returned to his unit which is the CIDG. And the CIDG seeing him in full duty status reassigned him to CIDG Region 12. So that’s what happened,” Carlos said.

Carlos said Marcos being assigned to CIDG Region 12 (Socsargen), he falls under the full discretion of CIDG chief Director Roel Obusan and it is also up to Obusan when they will start.

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