TEMPERS flared between Senator Leila de Lima and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa over the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to reinstate a policeman implicated in the November 5 killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
At the Senate hearing Monday, De Lima confronted Dela Rosa to identify the “kumpare” who called him up and asked him to reinstate Supt. Marvin Marcos, head of the Region 8 Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and who was tagged by drug lord Kerwin Espinosa as the recipient of drug pay-offs.
Dela Rosa said he relieved Marcos on October 15, but was told to reinstate him by someone “higher up” who called him up. He did not identify the person, however, saying only that he was a “kumpare.”
Duterte later admitted that it was he who called up Dela Rosa, saying he wanted Marcos reinstated so he could conduct an independent investigation.
When De Lima asked Dela Rosa why he did not immediately identify Duterte, he said: “Switch positions with me, your honor, you be the PNP chief…”
At this point, De Lima grew angry and told Dela Rosa not to argue with her.
“I’m the one asking you a question here. Don’t argue with me. I’ve enough of you, all of you are lying!” she said, pointing at her accusers in the hearing, including Espinosa and her former lover and alleged bagman, Ronnie Dayan, both of whom testified that she accepted drug payoffs for her senatorial campaign.
De Lima also criticized Dela Rosa for telling the media that he reinstated Marcos for “humanitarian” reasons.
“But the President never said [anything about] humanitarian considerations,” De Lima said.
During the hearing, Dela Rosa said he admitted that he was confused when he was asked to reinstate Marcos on the same day he was sacked.
“It was uncommon, your honor. To be frank, I was puzzled but who am I to question the wisdom of the President? Which he explained later,” said Dela Rosa.
Marcos insisted he had no powerful backers in Camp Crame when quizzed by senators about his reinstatement.
He also pointed out that the raid in which Mayor Espinosa was killed in his jail cell was a “legitimate police operation” and that the mayor was killed because he fired on the police raiding team.
Marcos also denied allegations of Mylene Son that he had something to do with the ambush and murder of her husband, Chief Insp. Jesus Son on September 16.
Reading a prepared statement from her laptop, Son said her husband was killed after he rejected a “special project” by Marcos to look for an asset who would be paid P500,000 to kill the late mayor. She said Marcos became mad when her husband turned down the project.
A day before her husband was killed, Son said he posted a Facebook status meant for Marcos: “Subukan mo akong hamunin ng harapan, I’m sure may mamamatay sa atin. (Try taking me on face-to-face. I’m sure one of us will die.”)