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Drilon urges Duterte to respect due process before siding with Espinosa cops

Senate president pro tempore Franklin Drilon.
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon on Thursday issued an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to observe and respect due process before making pronouncements tending to absolve policemen implicated in the shooting death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr inside his jail cell.

In an interview, Drilon said that, himself being a former city prosecutor, Duterte knows fully well the tenets of respecting the process, "the process of the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the prosecution division," Drilon, a former secretary of justice, said.

He said that if, at the end of the day, after due trial, Supt. Marvin Marcos and the rest of the implicated police officers are found guilty, the President can exercise his prerogative and presidential power to pardon.

"If he doesn't believe that there was enough evidence to convict he can exercise his power to pardon. The power to pardon is absolute for the President," Drilon said.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) found Marcos and other members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 8 guilty of premeditated murder of the alleged drug lord Espinosa.

Mayor Espinosa was killed along with a co-inmate at a different cell, Arthur Yap, inside the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City, allegedly while being served two separate search warrants for illegal firearms and dangerous drugs.

"Now, the statement of the President also puts the Secretary of Justice in a very difficult position, because in these hearings in the Senate, the SOJ said that mayor Espinosa was a victim of a premeditated killing. That's on record," Drilon said.

And therefore, he added, the CIDG men were guilty and, so, murder was committed.

"SOJ Aguirre, being an alter ego of the President, would now have to start thinking, you know, what will happen in the course of these hearings," Drilon added. "So I would appeal, again, to the President, knowing the system as a former city prosecutor, to allow the system to work," he added.