Palace: Espenido’s transfer may be due to drug trade
The transfer of controversial Police Maj. Jovie Espenido from Northern Mindanao to Bacolod City may have been prompted by the city’s narcotics trade, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, quoting President RodrigoDuterte.
“I told the President, ‘There are reports here (of the drug problem).’ He told me, ‘No, that’s why Espenido is there. That is my response to the drug problem,’” Panelo said in a press briefing on Thursday.
The police major’s transfer to Bacolod City was announced on Tuesday, although his designation has yet to be determined.
In 2016, Espenido was police chief of Albuera, Leyte, when ex-mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who was jailed for illegal drugs use, was killed in his cell by policemen who said they were serving a search warrant.
He was transferred to Ozamiz City in 2017. Under his watch, then Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others linked to the narcotics trade were killed in a series of predawn raids.
The police official’s transfer is “a cause for alarm as Espenido has a notorious human rights record,” Reylan Vergara, vice chair of the human rights group Karapatan, told the Inquirer.
Police Lt. Col. Joem Malong, regional police spokesperson, said Espenido, with his rank, could become a station commander or hold a staff position in the Bacolod City police.
In August last year, Espenido was assigned chief of the Iloilo City Police Office, but the order was later revoked amid questions about his planned designation, as his rank was two levels lower than the required rank for the position.
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