MANILA – President Duterte announced Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido’s new post to Iloilo during the National Heroes Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City last August 28, 2017.

In his speech during the event, President Duterte publicized the next assignment of Espenido in Iloilo, the province which he utters to be the ‘most shabulized’ province in the country.

Espenido is among the most prominent and controversial personalities in Duterte’s war against illegal drugs campaign, after his previous assignments leading to the death of alleged ‘narcopoliticians’ in two provinces.

In his previous assignment in Albuera, Mayor Espinosa, father of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa surrendered to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa after Espenido led several operations targeting Kerwin.

The mayor was under the custody of Espenido until he was charged and detained in Leyte sub-provincial jail.

However, the former mayor died while he was in jail after he allegedly fought-back to the law enforcers who was about to serve a search warrant against him. The operation was led by Superintendent Marvin Marcos and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region VIII.

Espenido was later re-assigned to his current post in Ozamiz City. The chief Inspector led several operations against illegal drugs in the said city. Espenido later on commanded a search operation to the Parojinog’s residence that led to the death of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog who was also linked in several illegal drug activities in the city.

After several assumptions, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog made it clear that he is unfazed of Espenido’s assignment in the province.

In his statement sent to the media, Mabilog expressed his warm welcome to Espenido, and he hoped for a collaborative effort between them in eradicating drugs in the province.

Mabilog also consider the great impact of Espenido’s assignment in Iloilo, whom he dubbed as “the President’s point-man in the battle against illegal drugs.”

Same as the names of two dead local executives, Mabilog is also linked in several drug activities and was mentioned by President Duterte as a drug protector.

In his speech, President Duterte made accounts of Espenido’s accomplishments in his two previous posts.

“I will ask you again. You ask for the assignment sa Leyte, namatay ang mayor doon (the mayor in Leyte died). You ask for another assignment sa Ozamiz, namatay ang mayor doon, si Parojinog (the mayor there also died, Parojinog). Ngayon, gusto mo sa Iloilo, kasi si Mabilog has been identified as a protector – mayor. Mabuhay kaya siya? (Now you want to be assigned to Iloilo because Mabilog has been identified as a protector – mayor. Will he live?)” Duterte said, referring to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog.

Mabilog however denied these allegations against him and insisted that he is with the administration’s campaign of eradicating illegal drugs in the country.

In a text message, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon raised concerns over the reassignment of Espenido to Iloilo, where his second cousin Mabilog is the mayor.

Drilon believed that the reassignment of Espenido in Iloilo is a “cause of concern”, citing the track record of Espenido in his previous posts.

Senate Majority leader Vicente Sotto III countered Drillon’s statement and claim that the reassignment of Espenido causes no problem at all.

Tuesday morning, in a separate statement, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said that the reassignment of Espenido to another drug hotspot in not coincident.

Villarin raised concern to Mayor Mabilog. In his statement, Villarin considered Espenido a threat, following what he called  “Wild, Wild West,” process of Espenido, wherein the suspects are caught “dead or alive, but mostly dead.”

However, Villarin understand that the reassignment of Espenido to Iloilo is the president’s prerogative but they still urged this administration to follow the “rule of law,” and avoid “short cuts,”

During the commemoration, President Duterte awarded Espenido an Order of Lapu-Lapu Magalong Medal, an award given to both public and private individuals who have “rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President,”.

President Duterte acknowledged the accomplishment of Espenido as the Police Director of Ozamiz City.

 

Reported By: Lacson, Jhonpaul and Germinal, Bill

 

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