Philippines: Police Involved in Mayor’s Murder, While in Custody, Reinstated — After President Duterte declared in a speech that he wanted the suspended police official returned to duty

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Photo taken in November last year shows Supt. Marvin Marcos attending a hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights. GEREMY PINTOLO

MANILA, Philippines – Facing trial for homicide for the killing of a Leyte town mayor last year, Supt. Marvin Marcos is set to go back to active service as chief of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Soccsksargen or Region 12.

His being given a new command – as announced by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa yesterday – came a day after President Duterte declared in a speech that he wanted the suspended police official returned to duty.

“He was reinstated. His case was resolved,” Dela Rosa told reporters in a chance interview on the sidelines of the 25th Defense and Sporting Arms Show in Mandaluyong.

It was not clear which case Dela Rosa was talking about. Marcos and 18 of his men in the CIDG in Eastern Visayas still face criminal charges for two counts of homicide.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Marcos may go back to active duty because he had already served his suspension.

“The President respects and abides by the rule of law. Police Superintendent Marcos has served his suspension and is eligible to be back to duty,” Abella said in a statement.

“We leave the matter to the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to explain its decision,” Abella said.

Defending the reinstatement, Dela Rosa said Marcos and his 18 co-defendants in the killing of detained Albuera town mayor Rolando Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap last year had availed themselves of legal remedies under the country’s judicial system.

Dela Rosa added that police officers accused of wrongdoing are as much entitled to due process as ordinary crime suspects.

Marcos’ appointment was effective July 11, but he has yet to report to his new assignment, said Region 12 police director Chief Supt. Cedric Train. The command covers South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.

“There is already an order but he has yet to report here. He is still at Camp Crame ,” Train said in a phone interview.

Marcos used to head the CIDG-Central Visayas before he and the 18 other police officers were relieved for their role in the killing of Espinosa and Yap in their cells at the Leyte sub-provincial jail before dawn last November.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier downgraded the charges against them from murder to homicide. With the downgrading of the case, Marcos and his men were allowed to post bail.

Dela Rosa said Marcos’ co-accused would also be reassigned to field offices after serving penalties recommended by the PNP-IAS.

He said the penalties include suspension, demotion and admonition. There was no recommendation for dismissal from the service.

“Here comes the decision. Why can’t we accept it?” the PNP chief said, addressing critics.

Dela Rosa challenged Marcos and the other police officers to work hard in their new assignments, “and show they are good policemen.”

Tough assignments

CIDG director Chief Supt. Roel Obusan said Marcos and his companions would be sent to areas where militants like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were active.

“Doon sa BIFF and ISIS area,” Obusan told The STAR in a text message when asked where Marcos and the others would be assigned.

Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute bandits have been fighting government troops in Marawi since May 23. The Maute depredation had prompted Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

“It would be up to the CIDG where to assign him,” Dela Rosa said, referring to Marcos. “He will be back on full duty status so he can be utilized again by the PNP for whatever assignment given to him.”

For his part, National Police Commission (Napolcom) vice chairman Rogelio Casurao said there was nothing wrong with President Duterte declaring his desire to have Marcos reinstated.

At the 26th anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology last Wednesday, Duterte said Marcos should be reinstated because he was not part of the team that went to Espinosa’s jail cell.

“Marcos was suspended. He has served his suspension… so I said give back to the man his job. He’s not there anyway,” the President said in Filipino.

“Legally there is nothing wrong,” Casurao said, adding that the President did not directly order his officials to reinstate Marcos and the other policemen.

“So there you are, I hope our fellow Filipinos will understand there is nothing malicious about that from the legal point of view as well as the practical point of view,” Casurao said in a radio interview.

He pointed out that while Marcos and his companions are back in the police service, the Leyte regional trial court would be hearing the homicide case against the policemen.

“While they are working, there is progress in the case against them with the Department of Justice,” he said.

“That’s never the intention,” Casurao said to dispel impression that Marcos and the others were being exonerated. “In the first place, they are still in the service, they’re getting salaries doing nothing,” he said.

“At present there is nothing irregular about that, there’s still a trial in Leyte. What’s not good is if they’re exonerated of homicide even if there’s pending trial,” he said.

He also pointed out that President Duterte as chief executive has the prerogative to issue directives within the executive department.

“While it is the prerogative of the President to do that, remember the DOJ, the PNP and the Napolcom – these are all part of the executive department and only the President has final say on this,” he added.

He also urged the public not to make the situation more complicated by jumping to conclusions.

“Let’s try to help ease the situation and the problem of our government. We have so many problems because of the Marawi incident – let’s not make them worse by making wrong speculations,” he said.

Casurao said while the Senate may have found in the killing of Espinosa a case of murder, the DOJ has spoken and ruled that it was homicide.

“If there are findings concerning legal liability of murder, Senate can investigate the case in aid of legislation,” he said. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/14/1719384/cidgs-marcos-returns-duty-region-12

Photos on obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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One Response to “Philippines: Police Involved in Mayor’s Murder, While in Custody, Reinstated — After President Duterte declared in a speech that he wanted the suspended police official returned to duty”

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

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