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No state-sanctioned killings? Supt Marcos is 'damning proof'

MANILA, Philippines – “Here is your damning proof.”

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Sunday, July 16, said that if people still doubt the existence of state-sanctioned killings under President Rodrigo Duterte, they only need to recall the case of Superintendent Marvin Marcos, who was reinstated in the Philippine National Police (PNP) last week.

Marcos was chief of the PNP – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Eastern Visayas when he approved and even joined an operation against former Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa. While attempting to serve a search warrant inside Espinosa’s jail cell, the former mayor allegedly “fought back.”

Espinosa and another inmate were killed by the police, in what government probers and the Senate later declared as a rubout.

These findings were overturned last month by the justice department, which downgraded the charges against Marcos and his co-accused – from the initial recommendation of murder to homicide.

Marcos was reinstated after; he's set to head the CIDG in Soccsksargen.

“For those who still deny that there are state-sanctioned killings, to the EJK deniers, here is your damning proof,” she said during a speech at the “So Ano Na?” People’s Forum that tackled major issued under the Duterte administration.

Minority legislators took turns delivering speeches and reports during the July 16 forum.

Duterte's list

Espinosa was among the first local chief executives publicly accused of having ties to illegal drugs by Duterte himself. The late mayor was already in jail for a case of illegal drugs when the CIDG Region 8 team tried to serve the search warrant.

Legislators – both critics and supporters of Duterte’s war on drugs – have expressed outrage over the November 2016 incident and Duterte’s latest move to reinstate Marcos and his men right away. (READ: Lacson, senators slam reinstatement of Supt Marcos)

The police had earlier suspended them as a form of punishment.

“This government anchored its campaign on a single electoral promise – the promise of peace, safety and security for the masses and the common Filipino. This has proven to be a false promise. Instead, it has left thousands dead in its wake, and thousands more shattered and broken,” said Hontiveros, a member of Akbayan and an ally of the Liberal Party.

She added: "While big-time drug lords such as Peter Lim and accused human trafficker Jack Lam roam free, and the drug trade shows no strategic signs of slowing down." 

This isn’t the first time that Marcos has managed to escape sanctions from the PNP. Back in October 2016, national police chief Ronald dela Rosa removed Marcos from the CIDG 8 post after receriving reports of his alleged ties to the local drug trade.

But the order was immediately overturned by no less than Duterte himself. (READ: Duterte: I ordered Dela Rosa to reinstate CIDG 8 chief)

The war on drugs was among Duterte’s key campaign promises during the 2016 elections. While the government insists that the war has done the country good, its critics accuse it of resorting to extrajudicial killings. – Rappler.com