Espenido vows to continue drive against illegal drugs in Bacolod
ILOILO CITY –– Controversial police official Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido on Wednesday brushed aside concerns on his assignment to Bacolod City vowing to continue his controversial campaign against illegal drugs.
“We are policemen, not criminals. We always protect the rights of the people,” Espenido told reporters at the Camp Gen. Martin Delgado, the regional police headquarters here.
Espenido, former Ozamiz City police chief, was formally promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on Wednesday and was assigned as deputy police director for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office.
Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, Western Visayas police director, and Col. Marlon Tayaba, chief of the directorial staff of the Police Regional Office-6, led a short ceremony for the donning of the new rank insignia of Espenido.
Espenido’s promotion process from the rank of major to lieutenant colonel started on July 30, 2017, but was only formalized upon his assignment in Western Visayas.
Espenido became controversial due to the deaths of Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town in Leyte, who was shot dead while under detention, and Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog in Ozamiz City where Espenido has been both assigned.
Human rights advocates earlier raised concern over Espenido’s assignment to Bacolod saying this could lead to an increase in the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug suspects.
Asked if the anti-illegal drugs campaign in Bacolod could turn bloody, Espenido said: “(It’s God’s will. (We) will follow the rule of law.”
Pamuspusan said Espenido would also chair the police oversight committee on anti-illegal drugs in Bacolod, which, he said, was among the “problematic areas” in Western Visayas when it comes to illegal drugs.
“He will be overseeing the overall management of the anti-illegal drugs operations. (He holds a) very critical position (and) with his background and expertise, I’m sure (he) will give the much-needed help to further our anti-illegal drugs (campaign) in Bacolod,” Pamuspusan said.
Espenido said he could provide help in the “strategy” of the campaign against illegal drugs but did not elaborate.
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