by Mario Casayuran
The Senate has made its position clear that the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. inside his provincial jail cell last November was a plain case of murder, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said on Monday.
‘’However, I know that the prosecution of crimes is the responsibility of the Executive branch,’’ added Pimentel, a bar topnotcher.
Most of the senators are up in arms over the decision of the Department of Justice (DoJ) to charge Leyte policemen led by Police Supt. Marvin Marcos with homicide, not murder.
The policemen had served a court arrest order for Espinosa for alleged illegal possession of firearms. Espinosa was shot dead inside his jail cell.
‘’If the Executive branch, through the DoJ, characterized the incident as homicide, and not murder, then it is expected to be able to defend such a decision in any forum, including the Senate in a hearing that may be called for that purpose and/or during the upcoming deliberations on the department’s (proposed 2018) budget,’’ Pimentel said.
Piqued by the DOJ’s decision to downgrade the murder charge against Marcos and his men, Sen. Panfilo Lacson wanted to conduct another public hearing on the Espinosa/Marcos cases.
Lacson is the chairman of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee that conducted public hearings on the Espinosa killing and strongly recommended the filing of murder charges against Marcos and company because it was clearly established that the killing was premeditated.
Espinosa’s son, Kerwin, was tagged as Eastern Visayas’ illegal drugs lord.
Kerwin had allegedly made a contribution to the senatorial candidacy of former justice secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima.
Pimentel stressed that the DOJ should be able to defend its position in public plazas, including Plaza Miranda which was the scene of a bombing incident that wounded Liberal Party politicians, including Jovito R. Salonga who later became the Senate President (1997-2001). Later events showed that the communist organization had ordered the bombing.
‘’In the continuing investigation and public discussion of this matter, we cannot avoid discussing the Philippine National Police’s policies on discipline, internal affairs, the treatment of officers facing serious criminal cases and human rights,’’ Pimentel said.
The Senate chief stressed that the PNP should likewise be prepared to discuss all of these issues, especially during the budget deliberations where the PNP’s failure to solve the numerous killings all over the country would surely be raised.
Pimentel emphasized that the killing of the elder Espinosa and all matters related to it are matters imbued with public interest.
‘’Hence, the Senate’s exercise of its oversight powers over our justice system and law enforcement is called for,’’ he said.
Tags: Aquilino Pimentel III, bar topnotcher, Department of Justice (DOJ), killing, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., Manila Bulletin, Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Senate: Killing of Albuera mayor inside provincial jail a plain case of murder
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