Duterte backs police in the death of mayor, inmate in Leyte jail
President Rodrigo Duterte stood by policemen, who served a search warrant last week inside a Leyte provincial jail where a town mayor and an inmate were shot dead, despite comments from senators during a hearing that the mayor’s killing was "premeditated."
But Duterte said if those who were alleging that Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr was murdered inside the jail by the elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who served the search warrant, then they could file charges against the policemen.
"Let me state my case as the Chief Executive of the executive branch. I believe in the version of the police. They have evidence to prove otherwise. Then a case should be filed against the police," Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City Friday morning following his arrival from Malaysia.
In a Senate inquiry on Thursday, Senator Panfilo Lacson said killings of Espinosa and another inmate were “premeditated”, citing some loopholes in securing the search warrant by the policemen up to the operation inside the jail.
Duterte, who declared a war against illegal drugs, stressed he will "protect" and "support" the cops in the drive against illegal drugs.
"As I have said, we have become a narco-politics state. It is my sworn duty to preserve the generation. It is my sworn duty to see to it that we do not slide just like the other countries of the world, particularly Latin America," he said.
He stressed the policemen have nothing to be afraid of. "The fight against drug is mine. It was not somebody else's order," he said.
Espinosa was a suspected drug lord, along with his son, Kerwin, who is set to be repatriated to the Philippines from Abu Dhabi.
"And as a matter of fact, if anybody should go to prison, I should be the one. I was the one who ordered. So I assume full legal responsibility. So if I rot in prison, so be it. At least as I promised to the people, I will stop corruption, I will stop drugs and criminality," Duterte said.
Duterte reiterated those who were blaming the policemen for Espinosa's death should wait for their explanation.
"In the meantime, if you run out of people to blame, look at me because I was the one who ordered the war against drug," he said.
Duterte assured that Kerwin will return to face charges..
He said a team from the National Bureau of Investigation and two other officers from the Philippine National Police will fetch Kerwin.
"I’m sure, I guarantee you, he will be brought back...he will be back to face the charges.," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS