President Rodrigo Duterte hits back on Senator Leila de Lima's threat of impeachment against him for defending the police officers tagged in the Espinosa slay.
In a chance interview with the President during the inauguration of the Bicol International Aiport, Duterte challenged De lima to impeach him.
"They can go ahead. Bakit pa mas maraming daldal? Sige na, impeach na... Hayaan mo sila. Sige impeachable, go ahead," said Duterte.
The President stated he still believes the side of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Eastern Visayas team despite the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Albuera Mayor Espinosa's death was a rubout.
According to De Lima, Duterte's controversial remarks on the killing are an admission that he ordered Epsinosa' murder, and that made him impeachable due to his "betrayal of public trust."
However, Chief presidential legal counsel Secretary Salvado Panelo debunked De Lima's statement, saying that it was part of the President's duty to protect the PNP members who are enforcing the law.
"Why should it be an impeachable offense? Is it even an offense? It is a duty being done by president?" asked Panelo.
The NBI results show that the NBI does not interfere with any government agency doing their work, eh di sana iba ang resulta. But it doesn't mean NBI is correct, because the courts have to decide whether they are correct or not," he said.
"The presumption of innocence applies to all criminals in this case. Moreover, the assumption of regularity has yet to be overcome, it is the duty of the President to provide and help his people to defend himself," he added.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II also expressed his agreement that President Duterte was merely expressing his opinion on the NBI findings.
"The President did nothing wrong. He merely exercised his freedom of expression to render an opinion (on the Espinosa case)," Aguirre told reporters.
Besides, Aguirre also found the impeachment threat as baseless.
"'Yan ang mahirap sa mga abugadong nag-aabugaduhan. It's just an opinion (of the President)," he said.
Source: GMA News