Duterte’s assurance and the bleak realities for ‘Espinosa cops’ | Inquirer Opinion
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Duterte’s assurance and the bleak realities for ‘Espinosa cops’

12:39 AM December 21, 2016

The public statement of President Duterte that he would not allow the 24 or so police officers led by Supt. Marvin Marcos to go to jail for the killing of Abuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa is kind of unfortunate. I say only “kind of,” given the President’s simultaneous assurance to the public that he will not interfere in the judicial process of the criminal cases that the National Bureau of Investigation/Department of Justice are poised to file with the Ombudsman or the Sandiganbayan in due course against them.

And so, methinks the President should be given the benefit of the doubt for currently siding with the version of the police as against the findings of the NBI.

For one, according to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, that is only the President’s opinion, which is not etched in stone and which, the President as a lawyer and long-time prosecutor might still change if valid circumstances should so dictate.

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Neither should he be criticized should he again eventually reverse his original opinion, as he did in already not a few previous occasions. In a manner of speaking, he would have, or had, just become wiser today than he was yesterday. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

For another thing, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa was indisputably correct in saying that everyone—and that includes Marcos et al.—has to be presumed innocent until finally proven guilty.

On the other hand, even the rather unlikely happenstance that the President will still go to the extent of pardoning Marcos et al., in the event the courts judged them guilty, need not give them any false hope that they are totally off the hook. Firstly, it is solely the courts, not the President, that may put them out on bail when duly indicted. Secondly, we can all agree that given this country’s past judicial records, this case against the widely perceived murderers of Espinosa will definitely take more than six years for the courts to decide with finality. More bluntly put, beyond the term limits of President Duterte to pardon them. And worse, the death penalty law would have then been completely in place.

That said, I do not mean to diminish the reportedly high morale of Marcos and company as brought about by a fully supportive and trusting President. I merely echo the bleak realities that await them.

RUDY L. CORONEL, rudycoronel 2004@gmail.com

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TAGS: Department of Justice, Duterte, Espinosa, General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, judicial process, National Bureau of Investigation, NBI, Rodrigo Duterte, Ronaldo Espinosa, Sandiganbayan, Vitaliano Aguirre
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