SENATOR Leila de Lima yesterday said the exoneration by President Rodrigo Duterte of policemen involved in the alleged rubout of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. can already qualify as an “impeachable” offense.
She was reacting to the reported statement of the President that he will not allow Supt. Marvin Marcos, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8, to be sent to jail.
The Chief Executive’s promise also applies to the 24 other members of the raiding team involved in the alleged murder of Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has concluded that the killings of Espinosa and Yap last Nov. 5 at the Baybay, Leyte subprovincial jail were “premeditated.”
The NBI dismissed the claim of Marcos that the victims engaged the CIDG raiding team in a shootout when they tried to serve Espinosa a search warrant for firearm and illegal drugs.
“Now, why would he be defending (Marcos)? Iyan nga ang problema. How can there be accountability for these EJKs (extrajudicial killings) if the President himself is shielding these law enforcers? Kasi nga parang pardon, blanket pardon na kaagad, irrespective of whether talagang, without even waiting yet for the verdicts. Nag pa-pardon na kaagad s’ya,” said De Lima in a chance interview.
“Heto na naman, kinakasuhan pa lang ng NBI, pina pardon na naman n’ya. That’s tantamount to pardon, na inaabswelto na n’ya kaagad na. And it’s not even his duty because the duty belongs to the judiciary, to the courts. So bordering na ‘yan to impeachability eh,” she said.
De Lima added: “Ano ‘yun eh betrayal of public trust because its his duty to enforce the law and making sure that those who are responsible for committing crime is being made accountable. And part of his duty to enforce the law is to respect the Constitution, including the separation of powers. Ang court ang mag de-determine. Hindi niya pwedeng i-preempt ang korte.”
“Kahit wala pa ‘yung report ng Senate committee (that probed the killing of Espinosa), I’m almost sure it’s basically the same ang conclusion na rubout ‘yan. The facts and circumstances which surfaced from the Senate inquiry really point to our conclusion that it was evidently premeditation. It was not a shootout as claimed by the CIDG team but rubout. And NBI has that finding,” she said.