DoJ deputy downgraded charges in Espinosa slay


Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd on Wednesday said his undersecretary was behind the downgrade of criminal charges against policemen involved in the death of Albuera (Leyte) Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

Senators had slammed the Department of Justice (DoJ) for deciding to downgrade to homicide from murder the charges against Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other policemen who served a search warrant inside a jail where Espinosa was detained.

The downgrade forced the Baybay City court to allow the policemen to post bail for their temporary liberty.
“I did not have any hand in the drafting of the resolution being referred to by some senators,” Aguirre said in a statement.

He pointed to Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo as the one who resolved a petition for review filed by the policemen seeking to overturn a March resolution of a five-man panel of prosecutors that led to their filing of charges for murder.

“I was not the one who resolved the matter. I was not the one who wrote it. I was not the one who signed it,” Aguirre said.

He added that the ruling was part of the legal process in criminal cases and there is no truth that there was flip-flopping on the part of the Justice department.

“The petition for review was decided, it so happened that it was downgraded, the original charges of murder to homicide. It is following a process. No such thing as flip-flopping,” Aguirre said in a phone interview.

He added that parties could still file a motion for reconsideration or elevate the case to a court that will be the “final arbiter of this controversy.”

“In the review of the resolutions of the DoJ, there’s no other agency in the government, except the court, that could review our decisions,” Aguirre said.

He welcomed any investigation to be called by the Senate against the DoJ ruling.


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