'Bato' admits 'higher official' sought Marcos' reinstatement

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2016 01:11 PM

MANILA - The national police chief on Tuesday revealed that he received a call from a "higher official," ordering the reinstatement of Superintendent Marvin Marcos.

Marcos led a raid which led to the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

"May tumawag sa akin. Di ko na sabihin [kung sino], basta may tumawag sa akin. Hindi ako nag-sinungaling ah, pero ayokong sabihin sa’yo kung sino yung tumawag dahil akin na lang yun. Basta may tumawag sa akin," Philippine National Police (PNP), Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa told Karen Davila on ANC's Headstart.

(Someone called me. I would not identify who, but someone called me. I'm not a liar but I will not tell you who called me because that is only for me.)

Pressed if it was someone higher than him or outranks him, Dela Rosa only gave a succinct "Yes."

Asked if it was the President or a member of his Cabinet, he replied: "Sabi ko mas mataas sa akin, alangan namang—sino bang mas mataas sa akin? E di doon sa taas."

(I said it was someone higher than me. Who is higher than me? It's someone high up.)

Dela Rosa said he issued an order to relieve Marcos from his post after Espinosa's son, Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin, named Marcos as among the cops who received money from him.

Dela Rosa initially said he reinstated Marcos because the Regional Internal Affairs Services - 8 (RIAS-8) was conducting investigation on him and he "found it wise" for Marcos to stay in the region to appear before the hearings.

He added, he does not believe Marcos would have caused undue influence in the investigation by being there.

"'Yung cause kasi ng pag-relieve is to avoid due influence in the ongoing investigation being conducted by the PNP. Hindi ko man nakikita na magkakaroon siya ng undue influence pag nandoon siya," he said.

Although he affirmed that he followed orders for Marcos' reinstatement, Dela Rosa maintained that he does not regret it.

"Magre-regret ako kung alam ko na prior to that incident may knowledge na talagang mamatay siya (Espinosa). Magre-regret ako. Pero yung pag-reinstate kina Marcos sa Region-8, I don’t regret it," he said.

(I would regret it if prior to the incident I had knowledge that Espinosa would be killed. I would regret that. But reinstating Marcos in Region 8, I don't regret it.)

ESPINOSA SLAY

Marcos led the CIDG-8, November 5 team which served a search warrant at a Baybay City Sub Provincial Jail that left Espinosa Sr. dead after he allegedly shot it out with cops.

In a Senate inquiry, senators and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II are convinced that the elder Espinosa’s killing was premeditated.

It was also revealed that one of the team's members requested for a forensics team ahead of the actual raid, as if they were already expecting that someone would die in the raid.

An inmate-witness was also quoted by investigators as saying that the gun found beside the lifeless body of Mayor Espinosa was planted.

Dela Rosa however held off comments about whether or not the mayor resisted the search.

"Hintayin na lang natin kalalabasan ng investigation. Ayokong magbigay ng conjecture dahil alam mo na, maka-apekto yun sa imbestigasyon," he said.

(Let us wait for the outcome of the investigation. I don't want to give any conjecture because you know, that will affect the investigation.)

"To be fair naman sa mga tao ko, sila Marcos ay mga tao ko yan. Regardless kung nagkamali sila, may abuso silang ginawa, tao ko pa rin sila. To be fair sa kanila, kailangang palabasin ang investigation dahil kung ako’y magbigay ng opinion, wala na, that will change everything na," he added.

(Marcos and the others are still my men. Regardless of their wrongdoings, they did an abuse, they are still my men. Let's wait for results of the investigation and not resort to giving opinion).

But if his men are found guilty, Dela Rosa vowed to implement the law.

"Kung anong nakalagay sa batas namin, [kung] tanggalin sila, i-dismiss, dismiss. Hindi ako magsisisi kung yan ang recommendation ng IAS, dismissal, then I will sign the papers right away," he said.

(Whatever is indicated in our law, if it is to remove them, to dismiss them, dismissed it is. I will not regret it if IAS' recommendation is dismissal, then I will sign the papers right away.)