Press Release
July 27, 2017

Duterte behind downgrading raps vs Espinosa killers -- De Lima

Senate may be "barking at the wrong tree" by blasting the Department of Justice (DOJ) for downgrading of the murder charges against Police Supt. Marvin Marcos and 17 others, Senator Leila M. de Lima has recently said.

De Lima noted the lawmakers currently investigating the police officials liable for the death of Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa in 2016 failed to take into account that Marcos and other policemen only took orders from President Duterte.

"I, of course, share the indignation, a righteous one, of some of my colleagues, in probing into the DOJ's downgrading of the double murder charges into homicide only versus Supt. Marcos and his men for the killing of Mayor Espinosa and another detention prisoner," she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 124.

"My colleagues appear to be up in arms against both the DOJ and PNP Chief (Ronald) de la Rosa for the downgrading leading to Marcos, et al.'s posting of bail and for reinstating (as a prelude to eventual promotion) Marcos, respectively. But I'm afraid my colleagues are barking at the wrong tree," she said.

The Senate Committees on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, and on Justice and Human Rights probed the downgrading of charges from murder to homicide that allowed Marcos and other police officials to post bail and get back to work after being reinstated.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald de la Rosa reinstated Marcos to active duty, assigning him as regional director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, while the 17 policemen were assigned in Visayas and Mindanao.

He told Senate probers that his decision to place Marcos and other co-accused back on duty was based on the President's instructions.

De Lima said DOJ and de la Rosa are not "blameless" regarding all the actions taken on Espinosa slay case, but pointed out that Duterte should be held accountable for sending out all illegal orders to cops.

"Most culpable is Duterte himself who gave them such illegal and unjust order to 'go slow' on Marcos, et al, which translates, as it did, to the latter's freedom from detention and their reinstatement into service and promotability," she said.

"Why? Because, again, Marcos, et al. were simply carrying out Duterte's illegal and criminal order to summarily execute Espinosa. The trail of blood goes all the way up to the highest chain of command. It's a monstrous cycle of violence and defiance of the rule of law that our society has to live with for as long as this tyrant holds his awesome powers, fueled by his own dark psychology." she added.

The Senator from Bicol is considered as the first prominent political prisoner under the present Duterte regime after the government detained her on obviously fabricated drug charges to silence her from her vocal opposition to the President's murderous war on drugs.

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