JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said President Rodrigo Duterte cannot be impeached for publicly announcing that he would not allow the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) team involved in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa to go to jail.
Aguirre believes that the President made the statement only to emphasize his trust and support to the Philippine National Police in its enforcement of his anti-drug campaign.
He added that President did not commit culpable violation of the Constitution or betrayal of public trust in issuing such statement, contrary to the claims of Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes 4th.
“I see nothing wrong. … They’re just making a big issue out of it,” Aguirre said.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) chief had served as a private prosecutor in the impeachment trial of the late Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona.
Aguirre said Trillanes, who is not a lawyer, “knows nothing” as he rejected the senator’s claim that the President ordered Espinosa’s killing.
He also said there was no demoralization in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after the President publicly rejected the agency’s finding that the CIDG team led by Supt. Marvin Marcos killed Espinosa intentionally.
Aguirre earlier said the DOJ would push through with the preliminary investigation on the case filed by the NBI against members of the CIDG Region 8 in connection with the Espinosa slay.
“It will not affect (the proceedings of the case). We will continue our preliminary investigation,” Aguirre said.
The DOJ chief has formed a five-man panel to conduct a preliminary investigation and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to file a case against the policemen involved in the killing of Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap inside the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City last November 5.
In his Department Order No. 890 issued on December 7, Wednesday, Aguirre designated Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo as chairwoman.
Appointed members were Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas, Assistant State Prosecutor Jinky Dedumo, Assistant State Prosecutor Karla Cabel and Prosecuting Attorney Moises Acayan.
Facing the complaint for multiple murder are Marcos, Supt. Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, Chief Insp. Leo Daio Laraga, Sr. Insp. Deogracia Pedong Diaz, Sr. Insp. Fritz Bioco Blanco, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, SPO4 Eric Palattao Constantino, SPO2 Benjamin Layague Dacallos, SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano Jr., Police Officer (PO) 3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 Niel Patrimonio Centino, PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpilla, PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan, PO1 Cristal Jane Briones Gisma and PO1 Divine Grace Baclas Songalia, all assigned to the CIDG Regional Office No. 8 at the Port Area in Tacloban City;
Chief Insp. Calixto Cabardo Canillas Jr., Insp. Lucresito Adana Candelosas, SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan and PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal, all assigned to Regional Maritime Unit 8 also at the Port Area in Tacloban City.
Aside from multiple murder, the NBI also recommended the filing of perjury charges against Laraga, Abellanosa and Paul Olendan for maliciously obtaining a search warrant against Espinosa from a Samar judge.