Twenty members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas surrendered after a trial court in Baybay, Leyte issued a warrant for their arrest.
Supt. Marvin Marcos led his men in surrendering after the court found probable cause to indict them for the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa inside his jail cell in November.
Espinosa surrendered in August after his name figured in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of narco-politicians.
The CIDG members, however, insisted they merely served warrants on Espinosa following reports he and a cellmate were keeping firearms in their cells.
The Senate, in a committee report, also said Marcos and his team killed Espinosa premeditatedly and that they were guilty of abuse of authority.
The chief of the Philippine National Police, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, fired Marcos for alleged links to the illegal drug trade; the allegations were made during the Senate hearings on Espinosa’s death. Espinosa’s son, Kerwin, who fled the country but was arrested in the United Arab Emirates, testified that some members of the Marcos raiding team were under their payroll.
Soon after Dela Rosa’s action, however, an “influential friend” called him up and asked him to reinstate Marcos. It was later revealed that the friend was no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, who said he would stand by police officers implementing his campaign against illegal drugs.
This promise of unconditional support may have emboldened cops to do as they pleased, even if it meant abusing their authority for their own gain. This was evident in the first version of Oplan Tokhang, and it remains the fear even with the so-called improved version of the campaign.
The eventual prosecution, more than the actual surrender, of Marcos and his team should serve as an example. Not even men in uniform should do as they please even with a blanket authority from the President to achieve an end through whatever means.