Duterte sneers at Senate report on Espinosa slay

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte disregarded the Senate joint committee report that said the police’s killing of late Albuera mayor Roland Espinosa was “premeditated” and an attempt to “cover up” cops' ties with the illegal drug trade.

Duterte earlier stood by the police involved in the operation, even as the National Bureau of Investigation ruled that it was a “rubout” and not a “shoot out.”

“I do not care even if there are a thousand committees, I will insist on the truthfulness of the police. I will defend [them] basta 'wag lang 'yung abuso,” Duterte said in a press conference on Monday, March 13.

“I will defend the police. I will go down to the mouths of hell because that is my order. I do not deny,” he added.

Espinosa and his inmate were killed on November 5, 2016 while in jail. Operatives from the national police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – Region 8 claim they were serving a search warrant.

Cops said the mayor allegedly fought back, prompting cops to kill him. But the Senate and the NBI dispute this.

The Senate joint report said former CIDG 8 chief Superintendent Marvin Marcos and his deputies had planned the killing of Espinosa, mainly to rid all traces of their supposed ties to the illegal drugs network in Eastern Visayas.

Despite accusations against Marcos, Duterte ordered his reinstatement,  a move seen by the Senate joint panel as a form of “micro-managing” on the part of the President. (READ: Advice to Duterte: Do not micromanage the PNP)

Duterte stands by his order despite criticisms. He claimed he had asked Marcos to look after a person “contaminating” the region but refused to identify him.

“Because meron akong pinapahanap sa kanya, I was looking for the person contaminating Eastern Visayas... sending young people,” Duterte said. (I was asking him to look for this person who was contaminating Eastern Visayas [with illegal drugs]). – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.