Bong Go brands Leila’s claim: ‘Pure hearsay’


By Ted Tuvera,
Angie M. Rosales
and Mario J. Mallari

Sen. Leila de Lima is into accusing people based on “pure hearsay” and “unsub-stantiated” claims, using her unnamed source to back up her “gossipy” accusation,” Christopher “Bong” Go, President Duterte’s speical executive assistant, said to claims that it was he who had ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa to reinstate Supt. Marvin Marcos.
“The allegations are pure hearsay and unsubstantiated. I cannot recall having met former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 head Supt. Marcos and I don’t know him personally,” Go told reporters in a text message.
“I did not ask General Bato to reinstate him. I also do not interfere with the affairs and functions of the PNP,” he added.
Dela Rosa, in an earlier press conference, admitted that a high ranking “kumpadre” of his asked him not to sack Marcos who was assailed by alleged Eastern Visayas narcotics kingpin Kerwin Espinosa as one of the narco-cops who had benefited from his meth-trafficking business.
Marcos  led the operations that gunned down Kerwin’s father — former Albuera, Leyte townMayor Rolando Espinosa – last October inside his prison cell at the Baybay City Sub-provincial jail.

Leila: Rody’s involvement not far behind
The involvement of no less than President Duterte in having Marcos, who was ordered relieved prior to the death of Espinosa as per admission made by  dela Rosa, cannot be far behind, considering the role of Go in the Executive department, the senator added.
“Let them deny that. If they deny, (then it’s) okay, anyway I’m not the source. I’m just quoting a source,” she said to reporters when sought her reaction on  the issue, which she surprisingly admitted to being privy, although she claimed that this is an “open secret” among PNP officials.
“It is not only Bato (dela Rosa who knows of this. There are others who know about this and that’s why it has caused a lot of (disgust among the policemen). The PNP officials did not like  that the hierarchy of PNP was bypassed with the reinstatement of Marcos, without clearing it with them or without asking them. Even the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) head, I think, never knew about it,” she said.
De Lima could only raise the suspicion that Marcos’ initial relief was due to the fact that he was already under investigation for purported illegal acts.
“That’s why, all these that are happening, like the case of the killing of (Mayor) Espinosa, the Bilibid riot, all these that are being done to Kerwin, to  Ronnie Dayan are all done through force and coercion. What they tetsify to are all the dictates (of the executive)  to pin me down.
“I hope there would be more investigative journalists to dig deeper into all of these,” she said.
“So dela Rosa,” may have a liability there,” she said, citing possible charges of abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the interest of service.
Marcos, head of the CIDG in Region 8, was part of the group that served the search warrant to Espinosa who ended up dead alongside another inmate in Baybay sub-provincial jail, Raul Yap.
Marcos was initially relieved by dela Rosa after Espinosa’s son, suspected Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, tagged him in his illegal drugs trade after he was arrested in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Dela Rosa, however, confessed that a “higher official” from Malacañang who happens to be his “kumpare” called him up to ask for Marcos’ reinstatement on  humanitarian reasons, as the latter and his groups’ respective families will be left behind.
Following the controversial death of Mayor Espinosa, Marcos and 18 other members of the CIDG Eastern Visayas are currently under restrictive custody at Camp Crame.
“I have my own sources. I’m just quoting a source but I will not reveal my source,” de Lima said, insisting that several PNP officials are aware of the said information, especially in the involvement of Go.
“I really don’t know what had transpired between Go and Bato (dela Rosa). (But) it’s an open secret that Bato was ordered by Bong Go to reinstate Marcos and among the PNP officials, they didn’t like it,” she said.
De Lima surmised the possibility of “displeasure” among some ranking PNP officials but she would not go as far to directly link the President to this matter, even as she charged that the President is not far behind Go’s alleged order to Bato.
“Nothing like that. It’s only up to Bong Go. That’s what my source   said.  My source said it was only Bong Go who had ordered Marcos’ reinstatement,” she said.
The senator said this does not come as a surprise since Go is known to have been always powerful since Davao days, meaning, dating back to the time when Duterte was still mayor of Davao City.
“If there’s anyone who really knows Digong (Duterte), it’s Bong Go. He knows, I think, a lot of secrets about the President,” she said.
When asked if she considered any possible retaliatory action due to her revelations, de Lima said there’s nothing that could shake her up further at this point in her life.
“What more can they do to me What more would they do to me that they haven’t done to me all this time
“I have no fear of what they are doing to me. I can afford to be like this but I can assure you, I did not invent this.  I don’t do that,” she added, despite the fact that she even as she accuses, she has never been able to substantiate any of her allegations.
Ping stops short of Bato’s liability
Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday came short of holding PNP Director General dela Rosa accountable for whatever liability he may have committed in ordering the reinstatement of Supt. Marvin Marcos.
“Regardless of who requested him to reinstate Marcos and for that matter, all assignments and designations of police officers are his responsibility being the one making the decision, unless he was ordered to do so by a higher authority,” he said.
“That is the essence of the principle of command responsibility,” Lacson added.
The senator, chair of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, the panel that is handling the investigation on the case of the Espinosa killing, noted the significance of the issue in their ongoing proceedings.
“(It’s) relevant (to the Senate probe) because it was Marcos and his team who killed Espinosa under suspicious circumstances. If there was prior information about the  payola that  Kerwin (Espinosa) testified to, he (Marcos) has been at tainted with drug money as per dela Rosa’s own admission, then it’s no-brainer that he has to transfer Marcos,  as he is holding (his) group that is being investigated,”  he said.
Lacson found unacceptable the reason given in allowing Marcos reinstated, that of being away from his family  based in the Visayan region.
“When we entered the service, given that we were far away from our families, this is not a sufficient humanitraian reason,” he said.  
Bato admits kumpare’s role
Dela Rosa yesterday admitted that a “kumpare” of his had asked him to reinstate Supt. Marvin Marcos in Region 8 for humanitarian reasons.
Marcos was the erstwhile chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 (CIDG-8) which conducted the raid at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City last November 5 that resulted in the killing of  Espinosa Sr.
At a press conference in Camp Crame, dela Rosa maintained that he is standing by his decision –stressing that as chief PNP he is also concerned about the humanitarian aspects of being a policeman.
He said that his “kumpare” asked him to reinstate Marcos and his group in Region 8 after he (dela Rosa) ordered their relief upon his assumption last July 1.
“It’s my kumpare…he said that Marcos’ group called him for help and asked if they would not be relieved there, because they will be leaving their families…I told him (kumpare) ‘no problem pre,” said dela Rosa.
The chief PNP, however, refused to identify his “kumpare” who served as Marcos’ “padrino” to remain in Region 8.
“In fact, I should also be concerned about them because they are my men. As much as I am concerned about humanitarian aspects of their being in the police force, I am also concerned about the disciplinary aspects,” he said.
“I have no regrets…I stand by my decision. It already happened, that’s my decision,” dela Rosa also said.
The chief PNP’s decision to retain Marcos in Region 8 is now being criticized following the killing of Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap.
According to Espinosa’s son, Rolando Espinosa Jr., alias Kerwin, Marcos is among his protectors in running his illegal drugs operation in Leyte.
Kerwin claimed that Marcos received P3 million from him last May.
The younger Espinosa also said that Marcos’ subordinate, Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, who was the team leader of the CIDG-8 operatives that raided the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail, also received P120,000 monthly pay off from him.
Dela Rosa also stood by his pronouncements that Kerwin has retracted his allegations against Albuera municipal police head Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido amid reports that the younger Espinosa is denying such.
“I stand by my word.  I am willing to have my head cut off if I am lying,” he said.