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'Duterte bordering impeachability in defending cops in Espinosa slay'.

President Rodrigo Duterte is courting a possible impeachment with his pronouncement that he would not allow the policemen allegedly involved in the killing of Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. to go to jail, Senator Leila de Lima said on Wednesday.

De Lima, Duterte's known critic, noted the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) finding that the November 5 killing of Espinosa was a 'rubout,' and not a shootout as claimed by a police unit that raided the mayor's detention cell at Baybay, Leyte provincial jail.

She was almost certain that the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, conducting an investigation on the killing, would also come up with the same conclusion.

'Now why would he be defending [them]? 'Yun nga ang problema, how can there be accountability for these EJKs (extrajudicial killings) if the President himself keeps on shielding these law enforcers,' De Lima told reporters.

'Noong una nga pardon, blanket pardon na kaagad without even waiting yet for the verdict and then nagpa-pardon na siya kaagad. Ito na naman, kinakasuhan pa lang ng NBI, pina-pardon na naman niya (At first it was a pardon, a blanket pardon right away without even waiting for the verdict. Now again, the NBI just filed a case, but he is pardoning them). That's tantamount to pardon, inaabswbelto niya kaagad, and that's not even his duty because the duty belongs to the judiciary, to the court. So bordering na 'yan to impeachability e,' she said.

De Lima, former Justice Secretary, said Duterte has committed 'betrayal of public trust' because as President, he has the duty to enforce the law and makes sure that those who committed crimes must be held accountable.

It was also the duty of the President, she said, to respect the Constitution, including the separation of powers.

'Ang court ang magde-determine , hind niya pwedeng i-preempt ang korte (The court will determine, he can't preempt the court),' the senator said.

Another known critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Duterte's statement that he would not allow the police involved to go to jail was proof that he masterminded the Espinosa slay.

''Yung statement niya na 'yan ang nagpapatunay na siya ng mastermind sa papagpatay kay Mayor Espinosa (His statement proves that he's the mastermind behind the killing of Mayor Espinosa),' Trillanes said in a separate interview.

He noted Duterte's own admission that he was the one who ordered Police Chief Ronald 'Bato' Dela Rosa to reinstate Supt. Marvin Marcos, the head of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 (CIDG-8) that raided Espinosa's cell.

'Maganda 'yan, maganda 'yang statement na 'yan (That's a good statement) because that's what going to be used as evidence against him (Duterte),' Trillanes said.

He said Duterte's statement could be used as evidence that he was part of a conspiracy to commit murder.

Duterte stood by the police despite the NBI findings against them.

'I will not allow these police to go in prison. Kahit sabihin ng NBI na murder (Even if the NBI says it's murder),' he said in a speech in Mandaue City.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Dec 7, 2016
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