MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would pardon the policemen involved in the controversial raid inside a Leyte jail that killed Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
“Na-convict kayo? O sige i-convict mo walang problema ‘yan. But I’m giving you advanced notice: the Constitution says the president can pardon a criminal, either conditional or absolute,” Duterte said in a speech during the celebration of the 116th founding anniversary of the police service.
The cops, led by Supt. Marvin Marcos, are facing homicide charges over the death of the mayor inside his cell at the Baybay City Sub-Provincial Jail in November 2016.
Marcos and his men were earlier charged with murder but this was downgraded by the Department of Justice, to the dismay of the senators who investigated Espinosa’s killing and concluded that this was premeditated.
Despite his vow to pardon the policemen, Duterte claimed he did not influence the DOJ into downgrading the charges against the cops.
“Hindi ako nakikiusap. Tanuning niyo. I never influenced my secretary of justice na ‘you better file a lesser charge,’” he said.
This is not the first time Duterte publicly said he would pardon the cops involved.
In April, he had said he will not only pardon but also promote the policemen involved in the controversial raid.