NINETEEN policemen led by Superintendent Marvin Marcos who were jailed for nearly two months for the November 2, 2016 killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and a fellow drug inmate are not only already out after posting P40,000 bail each but may also get a ‘favorable decision’ from the Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service.
Two months before the Department of Justice dismissed two counts of murder against Marcos and company indicting them instead for homicide which is a lesser and bailable offense, People’s Tonight sources had said that the PNP-IAS headed by civilian lawyer Alfegar Triambulo has recommended a mere 6-month suspension without pay or a mere ‘slap on the wrist’ for the 19 police officers.
Late last week, the Baybay City Regional Trial Court Branch 14 granted the police officer’s plea to downgrade the charges against them for murder. Marcos and his co-accused claimed they were forced to fire at the two inmates when they started shooting, a claim supported by President Duterte.
The Baybay RTC granted a motion by the DoJ to downgrade the criminal charges filed against the accused from murder to homicide since its investigators who reviewed the case found no premeditation.
Highly-reliable sources said that Triambulo had submitted his recommendation on Marcos et al to PNP chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa in connection with the killing of Espinosa and Raul Yap inside the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail in Leyte.
However, the Office of the Chief PNP is yet to release its official decision on the highly-sensitive matter which is expected to trigger another controversy since President Rodrigo Duterte had made it clear he would stand by Marcos and his co-accused and would grant them executive clemency as soon as they are convicted by the court.
Gen. Dela Rosa’s decision on the PNP-IAS recommendation would be “final and executory.”
Triambulo was appointed by Duterte to head the PNP-IAS last December, with the rank of Inspector General. Shortly after his designation, the lawyer said he would prioritize the strengthening of the IAS intelligence division so that it could efficiently go after scalawags as part of the PNP’s “internal cleansing.”
Sources said that Triambulo personally typed his recommendation and submitted it to the Office of the Chief PNP. The decision came amid Triambulo’s statement that he wants the public “not to entertain doubts, that there is bias, whitewashing and partiality in our decisions involving policemen.” He could not be immediately contacted for comment.
The PNP-IAS investigates policemen on its own or upon complaint from the public over violations of police procedures and other regulations. It may also dismiss administratively erring policemen.
Last March 21, Marcos and his 18 co-accused were ordered detained at the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s regional office in Tacloban City by Judge Carlos Arguelles of the Baybay City Regional Trial Court Branch 14 because the local jail was overflowing with detainees.
Arguelles issued his decision a day after Marcos and his co-accused voluntarily surrendered to their superiors after warrants of arrest were issued against them in connection with the killing of Espinosa and a fellow drug inmate in an alleged gunbattle.
Marcos was the head of the 8th Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, whose men shot dead Espinosa and Yap, in an early-morning raid at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail on November 5 last year.
The accused claimed that they went to Espinosa’s detention cell to serve a search warrant and check the premises for illegal firearms and drugs. They alleged that Espinosa fired shots at the lawmen prompting them to retaliate killing him and fellow inmate Yap.
However, an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation concluded that the real purpose of the raid was to kill Espinosa.
Apart from Marcos, the other accused in the Espinosa slaying are Supt. Noel Matira, Chief Inspectors Leo Laraga and Calixto Canillas, Sr. Insp. Fritz Blanco, Inspectors Deogracias Diaz III and Lucrecito Candilosas, SPO4 Melvin Cayobit, PO3 Jhonny Ibañez, SPO4 Juanito Duarte, PO1 Lloyd Oeriguesa, PO1 Bernard Orpilla, SPO2 Benjamin Dacallos, PO3 Norman Abellanosa, PO1 Jerlan Cabiyaan, SPO2 Antonio Docil, SPO2 Mark Christian Cadilo, PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan and PO2 Jaime Bascal.