Bishop, Bayan raise concern over Duterte’s ‘free-to-kill’ order to Espenido in Bacolod
Concerns were raised over President Duterte’s statement that controversial police official, Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, is “free to kill” in Bacolod City.
“God have mercy on him and our people! Our right to life is the first of all other rights and is universal, absolute, inalienable, and inviolable,” said San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza.
“I pray and hope that Lt. Col. Espenido and the rest of our PNP/AFP have enough moral integrity and will exercise critical thinking and not to take it literally,” the prelate added.
Last week, Espenido was named deputy director for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office.
President Duterte, in a speech at the 45th Philippine Business Conference & Expo on Thursday, told Espenido to “go there, you are free to kill everybody.”
“Bacolod is badly hit (by illegal drugs) now. I placed Espenido there. Start killing there. Dalawa na lang tayo pa-preso. (Both of us can go to jail),” the country’s top official said.
Espenido was police chief of Albuera, Leyte in 2016 when then-mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in his detention cell by cops who said they were serving a search warrant.
In 2017, Espenido was transferred to Ozamiz City and it was under his watch where then-mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others linked to the drugs trade were killed in a series of raids.
Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon described the President’s statement as “irresponsible.”
“Coming from a president, such a statement is irresponsible, to say the least, and utterly disrespectful of the people of Negros. God is the author of life, and he alone has the right to take it,” he said.
Mike de la Concepcion, Bayan Negros secretary-general, said President Duterte’s statement just proved how he disregards the value of life.
“He gave a license to the police to kill. It proves that the extrajudicial killings are state-sponsored,” he said. /lzb
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