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Bato: 'Higher power' ordered reinstatement of Kerwin's alleged drug protector

Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the sacked CIDG-Region 8 director who led the operation that led to the killing of Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa, was also teary-eyed at the Senate hearing.

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa revealed on Tuesday that a higher official ordered the chief of Crime Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 prior to the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa reinstated.

Dela Rosa said in a television interview that he already relieved Superintendent Marvin Marcos after self-confessed drug lord Rolan "Kerwin" Espinosa named him as one of his alleged drug protectors. Espinosa made the claim while in jail in Abu Dhabi.

"May tumawag sa akin hindi ko na sabihin (kung sino), basta may tumawag sa akin,” the PNP chief admitted to Karen Davila on her show on ANC.

“Hindi ako nag-sinungaling pero ayokong sabihin sa’yo kung sino ‘yung tumawag dahil akin na lang ‘yun,” he added.

WATCH: Emotional PNP chief Bato cries over erring cops

Dela Rosa said that the call came from an official with a higher rank but refused to answer when asked if it was from President Rodrigo Duterte or from the Cabinet.

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"Sabi ko mas mataas sa akin, sino pa bang mas mataas sa akin? E di doon sa taas," he said.

The PNP is under the administrative control of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. The DILG ultimately answers to the president, who is head of the executive branch of government. 

Marcos was the leader of the CIDG raiding team that served a search warrant on Mayor Espinosa inside his detention cell in the Baybay, Leyte sub-provincial jail on November 5.

The elder Espinosa was killed in what the authorities claim was a shootout but that some senators said seems like a rubout.

Despite the incident, Dela Rosa said that he does not regret his decision to follow the order to reinstate Marcos.

READ: Dad’s death a rubout, Kerwin says

“Magre-regret ako kung alam ko na prior to that incident may knowledge na talagang mamatay siya (Espinosa).Had I known it earlier na mamamatay si Espinosa, ‘yung operation na ‘yun magsisisi ako pero to be honest hindi ko talaga alam 'yun,” the PNP chief said.

“Pero yung pag-reinstate kina Marcos sa Region 8, I don’t regret it,” he added.

During the first Senate investigation on the death of Albuera Mayor, senators said the operation of the CIDG raiding team seemed premeditated due to questionable statements and sequence of events including the request for Scene of the Crime Operatives before the team entered the provincial jail.

The younger Espinosa accused Marcos of asking the late Albuera mayor for P3 million to fund the campaign of his wife.

READ: Duterte backs CIDG's version of Espinosa killing

Marcos denied the allegation.

“How could I support her? We’re long separated,” an emotional Marcos said. “She’s angry with me, I’m angry with her. She lost the elections when she ran as an independent. She didn’t have money.”

“You must tell the truth and be held accountable for the many people you killed,” Marcos told Kerwin in Filipino.

The raiding team of CIDG 8 was relieved as the police Internal Affairs Service conducted an investigation of the incident.

"Kung anong nakalagay sa batas namin, (kung) tanggalin sila, i-dismiss, dismiss. Hindi ako magsisisi kung ‘yan ang recommendation ng IAS, dismissal, then I will sign the papers right away," Dela Rosa said.

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