MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said that he will pardon and promote the policemen who killed Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Espinosa was shot dead inside his jail cell in Baybay City on November 5, 2016.
Duterte claimed that many mayors are involved in the illegal drug trade, and he believes that Espinosa was among them.
"Shabu, itong mga mayor, they are into it and in two months’ time, they are millionaires," he said.
(These mayors, they are into dealing shabu. They are into it and in two months’ time, they are millionaires.)
While the policemen who were involved in Espinosa's killing were charged with murder, Duterte said that he is willing to grant them pardon, reinstate them in the Philippine National Police, and promote them to a higher rank.
"Sabi ko nga publicly, hindi ako nakikialam. 'Yung pulis na nakademanda, pinatay nila si Albuera mayor. Wala akong ano. It was Aguirre who filed the murder charges. Hindi ako nakikialam," Duterte said.
(As I have mentioned publicly, I do not meddle in the case of the cops who were charged with killing the Albuera mayor. It was Aguirre who filed the murder charges. I did not take part.)
Duterte said the cops were merely following orders to eradicate drug personalities.
"Itong pulis, hindi ko rin pwede iwanan. Hidi ko talaga pwede iwanan. Baka nga talaga sinunod yung utos ko," he said.
(These policemen, I cannot abandon them. I cannot desert them. Maybe they really followed my orders.)
The president said that he will grant the policemen pardon, reinstating their civil and political rights, if they are found guilty of Espinosa's murder.
Dutert said that under the Constitution, he has the express power to do so.
"The Constitution says the president can pardon, either conditional or absolute, a convicted criminal or grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress," he said.
Standing trial for Espinosa's killing are Supt. Marvin Marcos; Supt. Noel G. Matira, Chief Inspector Leo D. Laraga; SPO4 Melvin M. Cayobit; PO3 Johnny A. Ibañez; Senior Inspector Deogacias P. Diaz III; SPO2 Benjamin L. Dacallos; PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa; PO1 Jerlan S. Cabiyaan; Chief Inspector Calixto C. Canillas, Jr.; Senior Inspector Lucrecito A. Candilosas; SPO2 Antonio R. Docil; SPO1 Mark Christian Cadilo; PO2 Jhon Ruel Doculan; and PO2 Jaime P Bacsal.
Indicted for a separate count of murder for the killing of Raul Yap, Espinosa's cellmate, are Marcos; Diaz; Dacallos; Abellanosa; Cabiyaan; Canillas; Candilosas; Cadillo; Doculan; Bacsal; SPO4 Juanito A. Duarte; PO1 Lloyd O. Ortigueza; Senior Inspector Fritz B. Blanco; PO1 Bhernard R. Orpilla; and SPO2 Antonio R. Docil.