PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte expects controversial police Maj. Jovie Espenido to rid Bacolod City of illegal drugs, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed the new assignment of Espenido, the controversial police official linked to the deaths of two alleged narcopoliticians.
“Kasi nasa Bacolod ako, maraming nagpunta sa akin nagrereklamo on drugs. So sinabi ko kay Presidente, maraming report dito, ganito, ganyan (I was in Bacolod, many residents there came to meet me complaining about drugs. So I told the President that there many reports about it, this and that),” Panelo said during a press conference.
“Ang sabi niya sa ‘kin, kaya nga nag-ano si Espenido. ‘Yan ang response ko diyan sa problema ng Bacolod (The President told me that, ‘that’s the reason why Espenido was assigned there. That’s my response to the problem in
Bacolod’),” he added.
It was earlier reported that Espenido would be assigned to Bacolod City Police Office, but his designation has yet to be determined.
Earlier this year, Duterte fired Bacolod police chief Francis Ebreo and four other cops for allegedly protecting elements of the illegal drug trade.
Prior to the appointment, Espenido was police chief in Ozamiz City.
To recall, Espenido led police operations that killed mayors Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte and Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City. Both mayors were on the President’s list of drug protectors.
Espenido was also named as Iloilo City police chief in 2017, but the appointment was withdrawn because his rank was lower than the requirement.
He also had brief stints as Catanduanes and Samar police chiefs in 2018 before he was reassigned to Ozamiz City.