Duterte backs rogue killer cops



And that’s very wrong, and should deeply worry us.

Even the top brass and officers of the Philippine National Police were shocked that President Duterte has come out defending the killer cops of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of Eastern Visayas (CIDG-8), when they acted entirely on their own in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, and in such a clumsy manner that it would be stupid to believe it was not a rubout.

Duterte’s stance means we no longer have a rule of law in this country but the rule of a President and his police who can execute anybody they want, and claim that their target had fought it out and the police didn’t have any choice but to defend themselves.

The CIDG-8 demonstrated how the police can undertake such execution with total impunity and brazenness that we should all be outraged, not only at such trampling of our rule of law, but at such ruthless, merciless murder carried out by supposed agents of the law.

In the wee hours of November 5, nineteen officers and policemen of the CIDG-8 motored from their Tacloban City headquarters to the subprovincial jail at Baybay City, disarmed the jail guards whom they ordered to kneel facing the wall so they wouldn’t witness their dastardly deed, forcibly opened the cells, and shot dead the detained Mayor Rolando Espinosa. (The CIDG-8 had absolutely no business dealing with Espinosa. It was other units, especially the Albuera city police, who had been investigating and eventually arrested Espinosa.)

Three of the four bullet wounds, including one in the head, had upward trajectories, PNP Chief Medio-Legal Officer Benjamin Lara testified in the Senate—meaning that mostly likely, he was shot while he was lying down, his feet nearest the shooters. The CIDG ripped out and took away the hard disc of the CCTV that recorded the horrible deed.

In an extraordinary move, the Supreme Court in full session ordered an investigation into why the judge of Basey, Samar issued a search warrant on Espinosa’s jail — which was obviously under government control, and therefore, didn’t need one.

Only real use
Its only real use was to give the CIDG-8 killers the legal excuse that they were “merely” implementing a search warrant ordered by a Court.

The CIDG-8 officers were so caught lying through their teeth in their testimonies that even allies of President Duterte involved in the investigation—Senators Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon and even Manny Pacquiao—all concluded that the killing was a brazen, “premeditated murder,” as Lacson, who was a former PNP chief, put it. For instance, Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, head of the CIDG team that killed Espinosa, claimed that a media man they brought with them in the raid saw Espinosa with a gun. The media man denied this, saying he was told to stay outside the jail.

The CIDG-8 police think we’re stupid: Two photos right after Espinosa’s execution, one with a edition with Hillary on its gun, one without. (From the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.)

The CIDG-8 police think we’re stupid: Two photos right after Espinosa’s execution, one with a gun, one without. (From the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.)

I describe the CIDG killers as “rogue” cops, as they acted without getting approval for their murderous raid, without even informing—as strictly required by police protocol – their superiors, especially as it involved a high value target. Both PNP Deputy Director for Operations Benjamin Magalong and CIDG Director Chief Superintendent Roel Obusan testified in the Senate that they were not informed by the CIDG-8 head, Marvin Marcos, of the operation.

Despite all these proofs of their guilt, though, Duterte has defended these rogue killer cops.

After three days of strange silence on the rubout, he said he believed “in the version of the police,” obviously referring to the CIDG-8 killers’ version and not of those of PNP chief Ronald de la Rosa (who claimed he ordered his officials to investigate the matter) or of deputy director Magalong, who said the CIDG-8 violated procedures by not coordinating with their superiors.

Duterte also demonstrated a shocking mentality over the slaying when he said, “I will obey what the police will tell me kasi kasama kami sa gobyerno.” (“I will believe what the police tell me since we are together in government.”)

Isn’t he aware that especially, since he is the nation’s chief executive, he has to go after killers and grafters who are with him in government?

Deserved to be killed
Worse, Duterte practically said Espinosa deserved to be killed: “You have a guy (Espinosa), a government employee using his office and money, cooking shabu and destroying the lives of so many millions of Filipinos. So what is there for me to say about it?” he said.

That’s almost exactly what the highest-ranking official responsible for the killing, CIDG-8 head Marcos said: “All that they see is that the mayor surrendered, pretending to be kind, pleading, telling the truth. But he’s a criminal who has killed so many. He basically terrorized the whole town to win as mayor.”

Duterte’s more recent statements on the rubout are more shocking, though. “I would insist that the version of the police in the killing of Mayor Espinosa is the correct version insofar as I am concerned. And I will not, I will not abandon them,” he said Friday.

Duterte, as has been his irritating penchant, was even melodramatic about his stance: “If they go to prison, so will I.” This is not a declaration that he is willing to sacrifice himself for what he believes in. Rather, it is such a sickening demonstration of hubris.

A lawyer, Duterte knows full well that a President can’t be charged for any crime while he is in office. He has to be removed from office first through an impeachment trial, and only after that can he be asked to face the courts of law.

Why wouldn’t Duterte outrightly say that he’s willing to be impeached for defending rogue killer cops?

While many Filipinos, including myself, support what could be Duterte’s earth-shaking reform program for Philippine society to end the rule of the oligarchs, we cannot simply throw to the dustbin our nation’s rule of law and respect for the value of human life, the bedrock of our very humanity and civilization. We will be like, or be even worse, than the drug lords if we condone the murders of suspected criminals apparently ordered, or at least given the nod by, the President of the Republic.

Even our loathing for an immoral and obnoxious person as Senator Leila de Lima cannot be an excuse for sanctioning the blatant murders of helpless persons, even if they are suspects.

How can Duterte claim that he is merely upholding the rule of law in allowing Marcos’ corpse to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani while publicly defending the murder of a star witness against illegal drug protectors? Isn’t that such an obvious mentality of invoking the rule of law selectively, and only when it suits him?

FB: Rigoberto D. Tiglao and Bobi Tiglao


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  1. Congrats! you`ve new readers (yellowtards/ self-righteous hypocrites) they are very happy of your opinion.
    glossing over Espinosa`s a drug criminals who`ve destroy I don`t know how many innocents lives…

    By the way seen news lately a kid ARCHITECTURE STUDENT walking home killed by two drug crazy criminals. I been flipping your column can`t find you talking about it WHY? no taste not worth writing unimportant.

    Showing a bit of color ‘YELLOW’ this early, YOU MENTION TO US ABOUT YOUR DAYS IN ENQUIRER AS EDITOR? 6 years more go to for this poor Pres. Will see who is pretentious opinion writers, will sign off for now some of your readers.. will scrutinize.

  2. the senate should have waited for their inquiry before the doj thru the nbi finish their thorough investigation. now a senate inquiry , pnp investigation and other government agencies to include the supreme court are getting their hand get wet .everybody are not looking who is the real culprit of this mess which they know it is beyond their power to touch .let them think big about the power of the world drug cartel.problem that no country ever controlled.

  3. I think capital punishment was already launch discretely… The next drug Lord is already in the high fever at the moment.

  4. Cynicbuthopeful on

    The question is, who are the criminals who happen to be on the “right side of the fence,” that Duterte supported the murder of a jailed criminal who have expressed his willingness to tell all?

  5. “when they acted entirely on their own in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, and in such a clumsy manner that it would be stupid to believe it was not a rubout.”

    Cops act on orders, lawful or otherwise.

    The brazen manner in which it was done suggests that they were guaranteed immunity.

    Such is law and order in lala land of the Philippines.


    • Ann Dredd Luga on

      “I would insist that the version of the police in the killing of Mayor Espinosa is the correct version…”.

      Why the word “insist”?
      Without going through all the versions of the investigating bodies, why do you think PDU30 used the word “insist”?

      I can’t find respect for the rule of law and due process here.

    • ANDRES LUNA I agree, Coming from his two-day visit to Thailand and Malaysia, Duterte said on Friday that he believed the claim of the cops that it was a shootout when Espinosa fired first.

      “Let me state my case as the chief executive of the executive branch: I believe in the version of the police,” Duterte said. Duterte, however, challenged the Senate to file a case against the cops who said that they were just doing their jobs. “If they have evidence to prove otherwise, then a case must be filed.

      (This will answer Mr Tiglao’s request where and when President Duterte said that.)

    • Marshal Laway. Totoo ang sinabi ni Andres Luna. And Jose Samilin confirmed it. Hindi siya gumagawa ng pekeng salita. Tumutok ka sa mga speeches ni Presidente, especially when he is talking directly to the Police and the Military and listen intently para ma enlighten ka naman, hindi yong salita ka nang salita na parang wala ka talagang alam. Palagi niyang sinasabi: trabaho lang. Kung ang “trabaho lang” ay gusto mong bigyan ng ibang kahulugan, you’re just plain apathetic and clueless.

  7. The President’s questionable statements on the killing of Espinosa give the almost defunct Liberal Party new life which does not bode well for the country. A corrupt political party and a president who does not give a damn about the sanctity of human life is a formula for chaos. I just hope Duterte reverses himself and put some sense in his pronouncements.

  8. Naku Bobi, ikaw naman, di ka na nasanay kay The DeeGong. He was just joking. If he can joke about a conversation with God, my Lord and Saviour, he can just joke about everything. So why take him seriously? Surely, he was just joking about that. Surely, his factotum will soon be all over the airwaves saying that he was quoted out of context or that words were put in his mouth. Unless nasa Gazette and sinabi nya, wag na lang natin take serious. Ganun lang talaga ang peregrinations ng isang nag uulyanin na.

  9. President Duterte supported the CIDG in the slay of Mayor Espinosa without sufficient provocation to commit the offense, which is an important element of murder?

  10. @ RT

    Since when did decent Filipinos have the law on their side RT? From Marcos to BS Aquino, they used that law you brag about to abuse and confuse the people, rape the constitution, and steal the nation’s coffers!

    You suggest that drug lords have rights? You suggest that drug lords respect and obey the same laws that we ordinary people follow? You gotta be kidding. Wake up.

    A good drug lord is a dead drug lord.

    Welcome to narco-politics. And please put the blame right where it belongs – the Yellow LPs and LP Generals of Mar Roxas who conspired and collaborated with these drug syndicates allowing this menace to thrive during their watch.

  11. Mr. TIGLAO its too early to tell. Since the case is still under investigation its natural that duterte will stay put on hs defense for policemen. But wait until something will be discovered by the senate and when the proper case will be filed.

    • Digong is supposed to be the president for all Filipinos, why put on the defensive posture for the police? And no care at all for a lot of EJK victims. And you call that ‘natural’ for a president? Kawawang Pilipinas.

  12. Duterte and the rogue cops: Birds of the same feather. The product of Filipino politics and the Filipino voters. Woe to the country.

  13. In the case of Mr. Espinoza who was killed in jail, the life of everyone in this country is in great danger. any police who killed somebody can just always say his victim fought against him. the police can just say he only defended himself. in my own analysis, the killing of mayor Espinoza was planned, premeditated and murdered. Sir Tiglao did very well in his column. inside a jail, search warrant is not applicable because it is within a jurisdiction of a jail warden who can do search anytime he wanted. Gen Bato must do something about this murder incident.

  14. Now we know who this guy is. Those voters voted because the nation needed a kamay na bato. Now, it is not kamay na bato but kamay Ng isang psycho

    • Should of known before he got elected, all you had to do was listen to the words that came out of his mouth.

  15. At the frequency that Du30 says he’d welcome impeachment, jail term or coup d’etat, suggests he’s getting tired of being the president of this country.
    I’m also aghast at his declaration of support for the rogue CIDG-8 cops even if I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt due to his stressful job. Is he nuts?
    He would have at least continued to keep his silence over the incident or advised us to wait for the results of the investigation.
    This case is a huge challenge to the PNP more esp. to Gen. Bato. I’d admire this guy more if he resigns if rebuked by the President.

  16. Marshall Laway on

    Duterte is just being true to his word that he will kill, kill, kill. Thank you Mr. Tiglao for fearlessly pointing out Mr. Duterte’s sins. I thought you have lost your conscience.

  17. Well it’s either you like him or hate him as people voted for him as the president, we have to suffer the consequences of our action. The question is: until when.

  18. DU30 is following the law. He is giving the benefit of doubt to the police. They are innocent until proven guilty. That is the law. Yes he has a motive. He is trying to keep his “soldiers”, in the War on Drugs” fighting.

  19. Wala ata Basey City sa region 8. Baybay City ang location ng sub-provincial jail na pinuntahan ng CIDG at Basey, Samar naman ang location ng Judge na nag issue ng search warrant.

  20. jose b. taganahan on

    By this news account, I no longer have any doubt that Pres. Duterte is a coddler and protector of police murderers in the country. I hope human rights groups or any democracy loving individual who has the courage, time and money should now file a criminal case (for extra-judicial killings) against President Duterte and his band of murderers before the International Criminal Court at the Hague where one of its Justices is a Filipino

    • File a case against the president and i dare you to do that. Go ahead and make his day. Do not complain do it by your self.

  21. People are starting to see what happens when you elect a president who says he will kill thousands.
    His whole campaign was and is based on murdering people and yet people are surprised when he does not care about the law or when police execute unarmed men in a jail cell.

    Sometimes you get what you ask for


  22. I agree with mr. tiglao, pdu30 must not support the police cidg 8 that killed mayor espinosa? why kasi naman masyado blatant ang pagkagawqa hindi naman pinag isipan ng maganda. dapat inayos muna ang script, itong mga cidg8 dapat kasohan at ikulong ni pdu30 dahil lumalabas na sila ay protector ng illegal drugs or lets say the NINJA COP.

    ngayon kung ganyan lahat naman ng pulis alam naman natin naging sindikato na lalo na iyong mga PNPayers, mabuti pa ang mga PMAayers mga katiwalian lang graft and corruption itong PNPayers lahat na yata ng crimes kasali sila.

    dapat ibalik na ang PC at tanggalin na ang PNPA at ibalik ang hiring ng mga reserve officer na commission para walang ganyanan at ibalik na rin sa PMA and mga officer para may quota sila sa PNP

  23. I agree with tiki Mr Tiglao, even Marcos never did such thing.

    We cannot do anything now. Let us hope that he will be the last person (Espinosa) to suffer such fate.

  24. kale alaskador on

    If the President, Rodrigo Duterte, admits that he ORDERED the killing of Mayor Espinosa, then he should be immediately arrested, imprisoned and charged for MURDER! There is no immunity for this crime.

  25. Could it be that the President was just expressing moral support for the police? After all, they are the ones carrying out his war on drugs. If the Police (even the Military) feel demoralized, how would this affect his war on drugs? In the video where he said those words in defense of the Police, I can understand why he seemingly looked sad and disappointed, but firm in his stand. In fairness to his apparently defending these “rogue” policemen, President Duterte qualified his defense of the Police by stressing that if they are found guilty then charges should be filed against them. As a lawyer, he knows better than absolving the Police of their crime, if it is a crime, without due process. President Duterte may be very vocal in his support of the Police, including the Military, but he emphasized, in many of his speeches regarding the Police or Military, that any commission of acts performed outside of their sworn duty is subject to punitive actions. Right now, it is clear that he is leaving the case to the Senate to investigate and he is not going to meddle. The President’s stand on the case is comparable to a father believing at that moment explanations made by his son of the circumstances into his involvement in an incident, that cost a man his death, absent the real explanations to the cause of the death, but warns him that if he is found responsible and guilty, then he will face the consequences of his action.

    • I think your analysis is absolutely correct. moreover, the President’s move will result in the easing of guard among these rough cops thereby exposing the deadly trail of narco politics.

    • This is what the Digong frequently speak,,”willing to rot in jail,,,”
      That’s president opinion about the killing, he’s always supportive of the Police, anyway investigation is underway.

    • Giving moral support is good. However, insisting that the CIDG version is the correct version is not moral support.
      If the investigations results into the filing of murder case two months later, the “moral support” being given by PDU30 now might have already emboldened the CIDG to continue further into their “encounters” resulting into numerous deaths till the end of the year.

    • Mura Supot, I don’t think the moral support President Duterte gave the CIDG at the start would embolden them. There is a caveat to this support and he keeps repeating it every time he speaks to the Police and the Military (this includes all government officials); that is, any untoward action performed beyond their sworn duty will be subject to punitive actions. Just recently, he said this about the Police who raided Espinosa’s jail cell that killed him (thanks to Jose Amilin for the quote): “If they have evidence to prove otherwise, then a case must be filed.” Tutok lang sa mga speeches ni PDigong. And read between the lines.

  26. Maribel A. Calanda on

    I am surprised too by his pronouncement but according to Senator Lacson, he might not be receiving the correct reports on the ground because the PNP chief from whom he can expect sincere and honest accounts of what transpired is likewise missing in action. Anyway as a lawyer, he knows that the testimony of Espinosa can be a hearsay because it was really his son who is the drug lord. PDigong knows from the start that there are more than 3,000 narco policemen and whether Espinosa Sr., surrendered or not his life is already in danger. The drug synidcates are out to liquidate him from the start. They know that the mayor is weak but damaging. Maybe, when PDigong has received the full reports from PNP, he could say that there are loopholes in the reports that he received and Gen. Bato was right all in relieving the policemen from their post. He promised to take care of Kerwin so let’s just wait and see what happens next.