Malacañang to validate alleged inclusion of Espenido in drug list
MALACAÑANG ON Wednesday said it will validate reports that the name of Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, former deputy city director for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), is allegedly included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug list.
“If that is officially received by the Office of the President, the President will investigate,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a media interview.
Panelo said he will ask Duterte to comment on Espenido’s alleged inclusion in the narcolist.
However, he raised doubt over online news outlet Rappler for being among the first to publish a story claiming that two police generals, who refused to be named, confirmed the report.
“Malabo ‘yun, lalo galing sa Rappler. Basta may Rappler palaging kuwestyunable (It’s doubtful if it’s from Rappler. As long as it’s from Rappler, it’s always questionable),” he said.
Espenido became a celebrated police officer in the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs after leading the operations against suspected narco-politicians, such as Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
He was the chief of police in Albuera when Espinosa, who was detained as a drug suspect, was shot dead inside the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City in 2016.
In October 2019, Espenido was promoted as deputy for operations and drug enforcement unit chief of the BCPO.
Espenido earlier said he considers his assignment as a boost to the government’s relentless fight against illegal drugs.
He also assured that he will work aligned with the rule of law and is assigned for no specific groups or persons to focus on.
But on February 5, Espenido was relieved from his post and transferred to the Office of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, according to the Police Regional Office 6 (Western Visayas) spokesperson, Lt. Col. Joem Malong.
Espenido’s transfer came only three weeks after he started leading the city police anti-drug operations, starting with Sitio Sibucao in Barangay Banago, an area known for the presence of several drug personalities. (By Azer Parrocha)