Supt. Marvin Marcos is confirmed to be vying for a promotion amid the lawmakers’ suspicions that there was a cover-up involved in the downgrading of the charges against him over the killing of Albuera Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. from murder to homicide, enabling him to post bail and get his back-on-duty status.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa confirmed Senator Panfilo Lacson’s suspicions during the Senate hearing by the committee on public order and dangerous drugs on July 26 that Marcos’ reassignment to the CIDG in Region 12 in preparation for a possible promotion to senior superintendent after six months, the period of residency required for the higher rank. Dela Rosa further told reporters after the hearing that the promotion is likely for Marcos if he won’t get administrative sanctions.
Marcos and 18 of his men were accused of killing Espinosa and another inmate during a raid at the Leyte provincial jail in November. They were automatically put on leave of absence when they were charged murder and put in detention.
Dela Rosa confirmed during the Senate hearing that he put Marcos and the others back on duty based on what he considered to be President Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions.
“As far as the reassignment back to CIDG… the President really said that we should use these people. We lack people on the ground. They are being paid so let’s put them to work,” the PNP chief said.
Although dela Rosa later told Senator Grace Poe that he advised President Duterte to wait until the issue surrounding Marcos and his men has died down.
“But he always says to get them back because they are not doing anything. I took it as an order. I’m just taking hints from his pronouncements,” he said.
Answering Senator Bam Aquino’s question, dela Rosa admitted that putting Marcos back on duty was “not so normal” but that it was Duterte’s instruction.
However, the PNP chief denied Duterte’s involvement in the downgrading of Marcos’ and co-accused’s charges from murder to homicide, a decision that the Department of Justice made.
“The pronouncements of the President were continuous, it does not affect our decision. He did not call me up to give me instructions whether to absolve or penalize Marcos. He never interfered,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa also said that Marcos and his men’s case followed the legal process and that they were penalized already.
“I think if we look at it in one way, if we can accord this kind of process to ordinary criminals, then we should also make this available to ordinary policemen,” Dela Rosa said.
“This boosts the morale (of the police). Because the President is a man of his word. He said that if you (police) run into trouble, I will back you up, I will not abandon you. What Superintendent Marcos did, it was in the line of duty. Supt. Marcos is being assisted to get back to work so this boosts the morale,” he added.
What the senators have to say
Lacson promised to preempt Supt. Marcos’ promotion.
“The reason I mentioned this is really to preempt whatever it is they are planning because he is already at the entry point. He was given an entry point to be promoted. At least I made them conscious that the Senate is watching closely,” Lacson said.
He also said Marcos is being coddled.
“We have all the reason to suspect that Marcos is being coddled here,” he added.
Senator JV Ejercito said he thought Marcos does not deserve the promotion.
“Hindi naman siguro. Hindi dapat. Hindi dapat dahil ano eh. Yun ang na-ano ng Senate committee noh? We all signed the committee report and talagang maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw yung ginawa nila eh. So I don’t think he deserves the promotion,” Ejercito said in an interview.
Senator Risa Hontiveros wanted disciplinary action for Supt. Marcos instead of a promotion.
“Kapag mapatunayan with finality na guilty sila sa premeditated murder o isang extrajudicial killing, katulad ng unang finding ng Senate committee at pati ng National Bureau of Investigation, obviously hindi dapat reinstatement o lalo na promotion ang susunod kundi disciplinary action laban sa kanila. Otherwise, magtatakda yan ng masamang precedent talaga para sa patuloy na professionalization at accountability ng ating national police,” Hontiveros said in an interview with Politiko.
Asked if she thought if there was a cover up in Marcos’ case, she said that she found DOJ’s downgrading of Marcos’ charges an “obstruction of justice” and a seeming approval of the EJKs.
“Well, hindi ko pa matatawag na cover up per yung unang ipinakita ng DOJ na pag-downgrade ng charges na parang binabalewala na yung finding ditto sa Senate committee at finding mismo ng sarili nilang NBI, ay hindi nagpapakita ng pagbibigay-daan, kung di obstruction of justice mula sa mataas na antas ng ating gobyerno at nagmimistulang pag-apruba ng extrajudicial killings sa halip na paghinto na sa EJKs na ito,” she added.
Earlier, Senator Grace Poe said that Marcos’ reinstatement may “tarnish” the PNP, adding that the police can fulfill its duties without someone like Marcos.
“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,” Poe said after Marcos’ reinstatement. “Therefore, his reinstatement to active duty may further tarnish the PNP as an institution that should value and uphold the law in the performance of duty.”
“The PNP could very well carry out its duties in protecting our people without somebody like Marcos and his cohorts,” she added.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said to hold Marcos’ promotion.
“I think it would be more prudent for the PNP to hold whatever promotion or movement dahil nga merong outcry dito sa Senate na paano nangyari ito and maraming oras ang naubos dito sa investigation and the facts should be reviewed or even thrice noh? Para malaman natin yung kung paano nagkaiba yung investigation ng DOJ at ng Senado,” he said.
The Palace has called talk of Marcos’ promotion “premature” and urged critics to allow the cop to fulfill his duty first.
“The Palace position is it’s a bit premature to talk about these matters. It’s better to let him do his job first and then and perform and see if there’s any veracity for the new assignment. So it’s really quite premature,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press conference in Malacañang.