Only courts can reverse DOJ reso on raps vs cops in Espinosa killing – Aguirre

MANILA-- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday said only the courts and not the Senate can overturn his department's resolution on the downgrading the charges filed against policemen for the killing of then Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap inside the Baybay, Leyte sub-provincial jail last year from murder to homicide.

They cannot investigate the resolution. They could investigate the circumstances in the issuance of the resolution, but I believe the Senate has no power to overturn any resolution coming from the Department of Justice, Aguirre said in phone patch interview with reporters covering the DOJ.

That is not the procedure. That is not their function. Only the courts can overturn our resolutions. There is no rule that the Senate could (do such function), the Justice Secretary noted.

Aguirre said that he is open to appearing before any Senate investigation in the event that he will be summoned out of respect for a co-equal branch of government and of a distinguished and a hallowed institution.

The court is the final arbiter of this controversy. Let's follow the rules. In the review of the DOJ's resolutions, there's no other agency in the government, except the court, who could review our decisions, he added.

Earlier, Aguirre distanced himself from the downgrading of the criminal charges filed against policemen.

I did not have any hand in the drafting of resolution being referred to by some Senators. I was not the one who resolved the matter. I was not the one who wrote it. I was not the one who signed it, Aguirre said.

Several senators have called out the controversy surrounding the DOJ-issued resolution signed by Justice Undersecretary Reynante B. Orceo that dismissed the earlier filed murder charges against 19 Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Regional Office 8 operatives led by Supt. Marvin Marcos instead, indicted them on homicide charges.

The DOJ, through Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo, earlier charged Marcos and several other members of the CIDG Region 8 for the killing of Messrs. Espinosa and Yap.

Upon the downgrading of the charges, Marcos and the following 18 were granted bail and were granted provisional liberty, namely: Senior Inspector Deogracia Pedong Diaz III, Chief Inspector Calixto Canillas Jr., Inspector Lucresito Candelosas, Senior Police Officers 2 Benjamin Dacallos and Antonio Docil, SPO 1 Mark Christian Cadilo, Police Office 3 Norman Abellanosa, POs 2 John Ruel Doculan and Jaime Bacsal, PO1 Jerlan Cabiyaan, Superintendent Santi Noel Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, SPO4 Melvin Caboyit, PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, Senior Inspector Fritz Bioco Blanco, SPO4 Juanito Duarte, PO2 Lloyd Ortiguesa and PO1 Bernard Orpilla.

Aguirre backed Orceo who issued the resolution as he said: "I believe in my prosecutors, especially yung undersecretaries ko. We have to presume that they have performed their duties fairly and in accordance with law."

Homicide is a bailable offense. A case for homicide if there is no qualifying circumstances of murder or there is not enough evidence to prove the qualifying circumstance as in this case �treachery and evident premeditation.

Source: Philippines News Agency