Bato says no cover-up for cops involved in Leyte mayor’s slay

MANILA-- Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa on Wednesday denied that his organization was covering up for the case of Supt. Marvin Marcos, the controversial cop who is facing homicide charges over the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

I don't see any cover up, Dela Rosa told reporters in an interview after the Senate hearing on the reassignment of Marcos and 18 other cops involved in the killing of Mayor Espinosa.

All cases were filed (against these cops). How could there be a cover up? We followed due process. Maybe if cases weren't filed there would be a cover up but I don't see any cover up, he added.

Marcos and 18 other cops are currently facing homicide charges for their involvement in the killing of Mayor Espinosa. However, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has insisted that the charges filed should be murder.

A Senate panel investigation also concluded that the Espinosa's killing was murder since it was premeditated.

Dela Rosa also clarified that Marcos was not reinstated but reassigned and brought back to full duty status which meant that he could be assigned anywhere.

First of all we must clarify that they're acquitted from their crimes. The decision we rendered was a suspension. I want to make it clear that there was no reinstatement only restoration to full duty status, Dela Rosa stressed.

He explained that reinstatement was a term used when a cop was sacked then eventually allowed to return to service. In the case of Marcos, Dela Rosa said that he was merely charged with homicide and not yet convicted.

When his case was downgraded from murder to homicide, he posted bail. They are back to full duty status, the PNP chief said.

He explained that he reassigned Marcos to the Criminal and Investigation Detention Group (CIDG) Region 12 to use the resources of the PNP rather than allow them to sit and do nothing.

Although he denied that it was President Rodrigo Duterte who instructed him to reassign Marcos, Dela Rosa said that the President has often hinted at utilizing his men.

He (the President) didn't tell me to reassign him but every time he sees me he says 'You might as well use them because it's a waste of government money that they get paid but don't do anything, Dela Rosa said.

In the hearing, Dela Rosa said that he was trained to follow orders and saw no reason for him to disobey them.

It's my discretion, he added noting that it was his choice to either reassign erring cops or put them on floating status. He further said that more cops are needed in Mindanao.

Senator Paniflo Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs (the committee in charge of investigating the reassignment of Marcos) however, disagreed with Dela Rosa.

Lacson, a former PNP chief, said that he was inclined to believe that there was indeed a cover up but could not give a reason why he thought so. He said that he was planning on conducting another hearing.

We don't know. We can only speculate. But apparently there is something they are not telling us that we need to ferret out. Maybe when we secure additional documents, issuances, possibly we can hear from other resource persons, Lacson said.

He said that he will invite Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to attend the next hearing.

The senator, however, agreed with Dela Rosa when he said that the President did not give a direct order to reassign Marcos.

There is no direct order but he picked up from the media pronouncements of the President. That's what I understood from his testimony, Lacson said.

Source: Philippines News Agency