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Unwelcome return

By: Robert B. Roque, Jr.

The controversial return and reinstatement of Superintendent Marvin Marcos and 18 of his men created quite a fuss and stirred up the hornet’s nest.

When Marcos was head of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Central Visayas, he led a police operation wherein his men shot and killed Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and another inmate, Raul Yap, at the Leyte sub-provincial jail last November.

In a statement, the group known as Former Senior Government Officials urged President Duterte to reverse the reinstatement since it would supposedly make the government appear like it condones extrajudicial killings.

It allegedly showed Duterte’s contempt for national and international law and warned that the thousands of deaths from the drug war would not undergo any credible investigation.

Dinky Soliman, who signed the statement along with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr., Karina David, and Attorney Florin Hilbay, said the government ignored the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Senate, and the political and legal processes.

In separate reports, the NBI and two Senate panels earlier said that Espinosa’s killing was “premeditated” by the police to cover up their involvement in the mayor’s illegal drug activities.

Espinosa’s son Kerwin, a self-confessed drug dealer in Central Visayas, testified in a Senate inquiry that Marcos was on his payroll.

However, the Department of Justice (DoJ) saw no premeditation in the killing and downgraded the murder charges to homicide. Marcos officially took over as officer-in-charge of the CIDG of SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) region last Monday.

Senator Richard Gordon, head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said this was a murder case and a mere suspension was not enough punishment. Their reinstatement would allegedly reinforce the theory that cops can get away with any crime just because they are with the police force.

In his disgust, Senator Panfilo Lacson could not help but cuss over the special treatment supposedly given by Duterte to Marcos and his men.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the reinstatement of Marcos was in compliance with the fact that he was suspended and the suspension had been served.

Firing Line understands that the President always has the well-being of the nation and its people in mind when making executive decisions. But still, the reinstatement of Marcos despite the Senate and NBI findings may further taint the image of the PNP and bolster a culture of impunity within the police force.

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