MANILA – The Department of Interior and Local Government has on Thursday confirmed anti-drug top cop Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido’s name is on President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called drug list.
No other than DILG Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed Espenido’s inclusion on Duterte’s drug list.
Espenido rose to prominence for his hard-hitting campaign against illegal drugs. He was relieved from his post as Bacolod City police chief after his name appeared on the so-called narcolist.
It may be recalled that Espenido figured on a the bloody early morning encounter that led to the 2016 killing of former Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa and that of the 2017 slaying of mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. in Ozamis, Mindanao.
DILG’s disclosure raised fresh new questions on Duterte’s brutal drug war even as Espenido’s former associates who are now in the Senate vouched for his character.
“That’s true,” the interior chief said referring to Espenido’s name inclusion on the narcolist.
Ano however stressed that Espenido “will also undergo validation and possible investigation.”
Espenido refused to be interviewed.
Known as one of Duterte’s enforcers on his war on drugs, Espenido was then police chief of Albuera, Leyte province, in 2016 when Espinosa, then the town’s mayor who was detained on drug allegations, was killed in his cell by policemen who claimed to be serving a search warrant.
But a month later following the Leyte encounter, Espenido was relieved from his post after Espinosa’s son, Kerwin, tagged him as conduit to Ronnie Dayan.
Dayan is driver-lover and bagman of Sen. Leila de Lima, whom the Duterte administration had detained on drug trafficking charges.
Kerwin Espinosa is now under police custody but he had testified in a Senate hearing that Espenido used to accept bribes.
From Albuera, Espenido was then transferred to Ozamiz City and on July 31, 2017, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group led the police operation that resulted in the killing of Parojinog Sr. and 14 others in a raid on the mayor’s home.
Like Espinosa, Parojinog was identified by the President as a drug lord.
Three months later or on Oct. 8 that year, Judge Edmundo Pintac of the Ozamiz Regional Trial Court Branch 15 was shot dead by four men on two motorcycles as he was driving home.
A week thereafter Espenido was transferred to Catanduanes on orders of then PNP chief Oscar Albayalde.
In the meantime, Espenido has to clear his name first on drug involvement allegations. (IAMIGO/covereignph.com)