THOUGH he admits that it still needs validation, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th has claimed that Malacañang’s intelligence funds were being used as “reward money” for rogue policemen involved in extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
Trillanes made the allegation on Thursday as he also claimed that a certain “Supt. Leonardo,” who belongs to Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class of 1996, oversees the operation of the “Philippine Death Squad” under President Rodrigo Duterte.
He said Leonardo, supposedly close to Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, serves as the President’s “point person” or “disbursement officer” for the reward money for his alleged death squads nationwide.
When asked what was the source of the reward money, Trillanes replied, “There were many theories being given. We don’t have anything official yet. But as of now, they have intelligence funds which they get from Malacañang.”
He said, “I have yet to validate that formally. But they have funding sources and the one who disburses [these funds]is Leonardo.”
Trillanes added that Leonardo is the “Sonny Buenaventura” of Duterte’s “Philippine Death Squad.”
A self-confessed hired killer, retired police officer Arthur Lascañas, has testified at the Senate that he was involved in the assassination plot of broadcaster Jun Pala in 2003.
Lascañas also claimed that Buenaventura, a trusted aide and driver of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, paid him P3 million for the job.
“I have to validate this information, Leonardo is a close friend of Paolo Duterte. Leonardo has classmates at PNPA who contacted some rouge cops. They will then secure assignments within the PNP [Philippine National Police] and this Marcos had been assigned to Region 8. So, they already have a designated target,” Trillanes said.
Marcos is Supt. Marvin Marcos, who is facing homicide charges along with 18 other police officers involved in the killing in November 2016 of Albuera (Leyte) Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another inmate, Raul Yap, inside their cell at the Baybay (Leyte) sub-provincial jail.
Trillanes said he believes that the President had a hand in the move of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd to downgrade to homicide the murder charges filed against the Marcos group.
“I believe that this is the order of President Duterte because if we recall during the testimony here of PNP chief [Ronald de la Rosa] he said that he relieved Marcos and his group because they are not qualified to be with CIDG [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group],” the senator added.
But de la Rosa said that days later, the President called him, through his special assistant Bong Go, and ordered him to reinstate Marcos and his group.
“One month later, Mayor Espinosa was killed. So, they really had a mission,” Trillanes said.
The senator pointed out that from the very start, the President had said he will help his policemen who will face criminal charges for implementing his war on drugs.
Marcos, chief of CIDG-Region 8, had been accused of killing Espinosa.
He and his co-accused police officers are out on bail as a result of the Department of Justice downgrading to homicide the murder charges filed against them.