A group composed of former government officials called on President Rodrigo Duterte not to “pervert” his power to grant pardon by plotting ways on how police officers charged with killing Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. can avoid punishment.
Government officials can still tell President Rodrigo Duterte: it is wrong to advise 19 PNP agents to plead guilty—so he can grant them absolute pardon and promotion,” the Former Senior Government Official (FSGO) said in a statement.
It noted that the president’s power to grant executive pardon aims to “correct judicial mistakes and to extend clemency to those deemed to have sufficiently atoned for their offenses.”
“It is wrong to pervert this power to give law enforcement agents impunity to kill by ensuring that no authentic judicial process takes place,” the group said.
“What may be technically legal can be morally wrong, politically counterproductive, and ultimately dangerous for our country. Abusing the power of presidential pardon to plan a crime, with the guaranteed promise of absolution upon its commission, corrupts law enforcement agencies and paves the way for more corruption,” it added.
The group added that it is also wrong for the President to dismiss the findings of the inquiry held by the National Bureau of Investigation that the Espinosa killing was a rub-out.
“Pardoning the Albuera 19 implicates President Duterte in state-sponsorship of the Espinosa murder and, potentially, of the thousands of unresolved extrajudicial killings. It is not yet too late for the President’s advisers, friends and followers to tell him this,” the group said.