President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday announced that Ozamiz City Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido will be assigned to Iloilo City, which the President described as the “drug bedrock” in Visayas.
As the President awarded Espenido the Order of Lapu Lapu Medal of Magalong during the celebration of the National Hereos’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Monday morning, Duterte also announced that Espenido’s next assignment will be in Iloilo.
To recall, Espenido have led the raids on the houses of the Parojinog clan on July 30 that led to the death of the Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others.
When Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in an alleged shootout inside the subprovincial jail in Baybay City, the police commander in charge in Albuera Leyte was also Espenido.
The chief inspector is described by some as a bane of alleged drug lords. Both Parojinog and Espinosa were reported to have connections to the illegal drug trade.
“Espenido, where are you? Diyan ka lang, okay lang. I will ask you again. You asked for the assignment sa Leyte. Namatay ang major doon. You asked for another assignment sa Ozamiz, namatay ang mayor doon, si Parojinog [Espenido, where are you? Stay there, it’s okay. I will ask you again. You asked for the assignment in Leyte, the mayor there died. You asked for another assignment in Ozamiz, Mayor Parojinog also died],” the president said.
Duterte asked Espenido if Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog will also face the same fate since he has been identified as a protector.
“Gusto ko lang tanungin kasi ako naman ang pagbibintangan. Ikaw nga nagbaril diyan tapos ako ang napa-publish kung saan-saan eh. Pero if you do the country a favor, I will support you. And we all.. then we’ll all go to jail, do not worry [I just want to ask since they would be blaming me. You pull the trigger yet my name’s getting published everywhere. But if you do the country a favor, I will support you and we all then go to jail, do not worry],” Duterte said.
The president, however, reminded Espenido to follow the rules of engagements in the performance of duty, which he has learned in Philippine National Police (PNP) for four years.
“Murder and homicide or whatever—unlawful killing—is not allowed. But in the performance of your duty, tell your men that whenever their life is in danger and they are in the actual performance of a duty, your duty requires you to overcome the resistance of the person you are arresting,” the president said.
Duterte told Espenido that he was “free to kill the idiots”, referring to drug suspects and criminals who would violently withstand arrest and jeopardize the lives of his policemen. The president further added that he hated to see dead policemen and soldiers performing their duty.
When asked by reporters regarding his instructions to Espenido, the chief executive said that Espenido is a “dedicated man” and that his exploits should replicate on other parts of the country.