On December 7, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte defended the Leyte policemen involved in the killing of former Albuera, Leyte Mayor and suspected drug lord Rolando Espinosa Sr.
During his speech at the Urban Poor Solidarity Week in Mandaluyong City, Pres Duterte said that he would not allow the policemen to go to jail despite the National Bureau of Investigation's findings of a possible rubout of the former mayor.
“I will not allow these guys to go to prison. Maski na sabihin ng NBI [na] murder. Eh tutal ano naman ang NBI, under ko rin yan eh, Department of Justice, But I do not interfere
," Duterte said.
President Duterte said that the NBI is free to pursue this case and that he would not interfere with their investigation. Duterte further clarifies that he will defend these policemen because they were simply following the president's orders.
"May finding sila? Good. File nila ng kaso. Pero hindi ko pabayaan ang mga pulis na ito kasi ako ang may utos eh." Duterte admitted.
The president says he trusts the word of the police despite the initial findings of the NBI.
“Kung ano ang sinabi ng pulis yun ang totoo sa akin. Sabi ng NBI, murder ganon. Sabi ng pulis, ‘Sir lumaban yun.’ O edi dun ako maniwala sa pulis. Ngayon bakit ko isasakripisyo yang ilang pulis dyan?” Duterte said.
"Ang finding ng pulis, murder, ay NBI. Good. Ako, naniniwala ako sa police. Ang mga mayor, sino ba ang pinapaniwalaan nila? Police o ang mayor? Kung ano ang sinabi ng pulis, iyan ang totoo sa akin," Duterte added.
Last Tuesday the NBI concluded that the testimonies of several witnesses point to a possible rubout of Mayor Espinosa and Raul Yap. This disputes the initial claim that a shootout erupted between operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group versus Mayor Espinosa and Raul Yap.
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