MANILA- Several senators on Thursday hit an order to reinstate controversial cop Supt. Marvin Marcos, who was named head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of Soccsksargen region.
Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Sen. Panfilo Lacson cursed at the move, saying it disregarded a conspiracy angle that authorities have long been probing.
"This effectively disregarded the conspiracy angle. In sum, there is a phrase to describe this whole damn thing: Put*ng I*a!” he said.
“It is not even a reinstatement. Rather, it was back-to-duty status after serving his 4-month suspension order incorporated in a "slap-on-the-wrist" administrative penalty imposed on Marcos by the PNP IAS and subsequently approved by CPNP de la Rosa,” he added.
Lacson also criticized the explanation that Marcos was not physically present during the serving of a search warrant that led to the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. last November.
“According to the decision, Marcos was not physically present when the raiding team killed Espinosa and Raul Yap, but outside supervising the operation. The others were given demotions and 6-month suspension," he said.
CIDG Director Roel Obusan confirmed the reinstatement of Marcos, just a day after Philippine National Police chief, Director General Bato dela Rosa announced that he will reinstate Marcos and 18 other officers tagged in Espinosa's death.
Marcos was head of CIDG-Central Visayas when his men shot dead Espinosa and another inmate, Raul Yap, at the Leyte sub-provincial jail. Marcos pleaded not guilty.
Liberal Party senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Bam Aquino meanwhile expressed concern over Marcos’ reinstatement, with Aquino calling the move as a “danger to the Filipino people.”
“Ito'y malinaw na pagbalewala sa mga umiiral na batas at nagpapalakas pa sa kultura ng karahasan. Itigil na ang pagkakanlong sa mga kriminal sa hanay ng kapulisan at hayaang umiral ang katarungan. Kailangan managot ang mga gumagawa ng krimen kahit pulis, kahit makapangyarihan, at kahit kaibigan ng pinaka-makapangyarihan,” Aquino said.
(This is a clear disregard of the law and strengthens the culture of violence. Stop the coddling of criminals in the police and let justice prevail. Criminals, even the police, those in power, and friends of the powerful should be held responsible.)
“It is quite disturbing considering that the NBI and the Senate findings point to murder. We hope the members of the senate majority who signed the committee report will close ranks and fulfill its duty to act as a check and balance on the executive branch,” Pangilinan said.
For Sen. Grace Poe, the reinstatement of Marcos may further tarnish the image of the PNP as an institution, saying the move may encourage a culture of impunity within the police ranks.
“The questionable downgrading of the charge from murder to homicide against Marcos notwithstanding, it cannot be denied that there is probable cause that accused Marcos committed the crime. Therefore, his reinstatement to active duty may further tarnish the PNP as an institution that should value and uphold the rule of law in the performance of duty,” she said.
“Such reinstatement may just encourage a culture of impunity among the ranks. The PNP could very well carry out its duties in protecting our people without somebody like Marcos and his cohorts,” she added.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV meanwhile alleged that the reinstatement of Marcos is because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fear that the policemen might divulge his alleged links to the Espinosa murder.
“Duterte not only set the murderers free, he now gave back their badges and guns so they could murder again with impunity. Why? Because Duterte fears that these policemen might rat out on him for what they know about his involvement in the Espinosa murder,” he said.
Trillanes recalled how Duterte reassigned Marcos and his men to CIDG Region 8 last year before they were implicated by the late Espinosa to the illegal drug trade.
"But when Gen. Dela Rosa relieved them for being implicated by Espinosa in the illegal drug trade and, at the same time, not having the required schooling to be assigned at CIDG, it was Duterte himself who ordered Dela Rosa for their immediate reinstatement. Then just a few weeks after, Espinosa ended up getting murdered by Marcos' group,” Trillanes said.
The Department of Justice last month downgraded the charges against Marcos and his men to homicide from murder, saying there was no evident premeditation in the killing of Espinosa.
--report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News