MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday admitted it was he who spoke to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Dela Rosa to reinstate Supt. Marvin Marcos as head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 8.
Marcos was the leader of the police team that killed Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in a jail raid.
In an ambush interview on Friday night, Duterte was asked by CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong on his role in having Marcos reinstated as CIDG regional chief: "Did you order the reinstatement of Marcos?"
"Ganito ’yan, si Bong inoderan ko, call. By the time pinasa niya, ang sumagot si dela Rosa. Sabi ko, do not remove the guy because kasali yan sa… I am doing an investigative job," Duterte said.
[It's like this. I asked Bong (Go) to call. By the time he gave me the phone, it was (Ronald) dela Rosa who answered. I told him not to remove the guy because he is included in an investigative job.]
"Natapos na yun, si Dolina was cleared. Marcos, positive. Kasi I was keeping track of his movements. Alisin mo ako doon, mawala bigla ang… Mawala lahat. Hindi ko masundan," he added.
[After the probe, (P/Chief Supt. Asher) Dolina was cleared, but Marcos turned out to be positive. I was keeping track of his movements. If he gets removed, I will not be able to follow his whereabouts.]
However, despite turning out positive, Duterte said that he will still give Marcos the opportunity to be heard.
"Ano na ngayon gagawin kay Marcos now that you’re saying positive siya?" Duterte was asked.
(What will happen to Marcos now that you're saying he is postive?)
To which the president replied: "He has to face the charges. But ngayon, pwede nang… Let him maintain the right to be heard."
Dela Rosa on Tuesday revealed that he received a call from a "higher official," ordering the reinstatement of Marcos.
"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.)
Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday, meanwhile, claimed that Duterte's executive assistant Bong Go is the "higher official" who ordered the reinstatement of Marcos.
De Lima said she has a police source who tipped her off on who ordered Marcos' reinstatement. She said it is widely known in the Philippine National Police that Go asked for the reinstatement of Marcos.
Responding to De Lima's accusation, Duterte cleared Go of any involvement.
In a speech at the graduation ceremony of the Philippine National Police- Highway Patrol Group motorcycle riding course, Duterte denied that Go called Dela Rosa to have Marcos reinstated and named Interior and Local Government Secretary Catalino Cuy instead.
"Hindi totoo iyung si Bong Go ang tumawag. May kumausap kay ano.,. Sino ba pasanginlan natin? We have to blame somebody ay si ano na lang, iyung pulis na undersecretary, si Cuy kay sige lang katawa. Si Cuy," Duterte said.
"Alam mo si Chief PNP ninyo whether or not, you retain there, does not really matter. Prerogative ni Bato iyan maski sabihin criminal iyan nagpro-program pa kami dito kung totoo ba o hindi."
Dela Rosa also said earlier he ordered Marcos' relief following the death of Espinosa.
He later said he reinstated Marcos because the PNP Regional Internal Affairs Services-8 was conducting an investigation on him and he "found it wise" for Marcos to stay in the region to appear before the hearings. - with a report from Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News