PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s order to reinstate an Eastern Visayas police official linked to the illegal drug trade has left some in the Philippine National Police (PNP) demoralized and dismayed, a senior police official said on Saturday.
A senior PNP official based in Camp Crame, who asked not to be named, said morale in the PNP, especially among those involved in anti-illegal drug operations, had been greatly affected by the controversy surrounding Supt. Marvin Marcos, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Region 8.
“The PNP chief has disciplinary authority to order the transfer of a PNP personnel who is facing a criminal and administrative case,” the PNP official pointed out in an interview.
Duterte on Friday broke his silence on the issue and admitted that it was he, not his aide Christopher “Bong” Go, who ordered PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa to reinstate Marcos.
“It’s like this. I ordered Bong Go to call. By the time he passed it on, de la Rosa answered. I said, do not remove the guy because he’s included … I am doing an investigative job,” the President said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The President claimed he needed to keep track of Marcos’ movements. Duterte said the investigation was over and Marcos’ supposed drug links turned out “positive,” while the Eastern Visayas police director, Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, was “cleared.”
Marcos’ reinstatement caused a stir as he was part of the CIDG team that raided a Leyte jail and killed detained Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. last November 5.
Espinosa’s son Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. told a Senate inquiry last month Marcos asked for money to fund the election campaign of his wife who ran for vice mayor. Dolina also received protection money, the younger Espinosa claimed.
‘Face the charges’
De la Rosa was put on the spot after admitting on Thursday that a Malacañang “kumpare” or friend told him to reinstate Marcos. On the same day, Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, told reporters it was an “open secret” that Go called up de la Rosa, citing a source in the PNP.
Go immediately denied the allegation as “hearsay” and “unsubstantiated,” and was cleared by Duterte on Friday.
De la Rosa on Friday dared de Lima to name her source, but said there should be no issue as Marcos and his CIDG men had been restricted following the Leyte jail raid.
Duterte said Marcos “has to face the charges.”
“Let him maintain the right to be heard,” he added.
But the PNP official described Duterte’s order to reinstate Superintendent Marcos to his old post as “unpresidential” and a “grave abuse” of power.
“He (Duterte) is always saying that the police should not be afraid of facing any cases and that he is backing them all the way,” the source noted.
The PNP source warned that the reinstatement of Marcos could encourage PNP personnel to commit more abuses.
“Expect more grave abuses to be committed by PNP personnel,” the source said.
“It seems that the real PNP Chief here is President Duterte and that de la Rosa is only acting as a front for him,” the source added.