Duterte believes Espenido ‘clean,’ involvement in illegal drugs ‘untrue’ – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte believes Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido is “clean,” while allegations of his involvement in the illegal drug trade are “untrue,” Malacañang said Friday.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo downplayed the inclusion of Espenido in the PNP’s narcolist as just “black propaganda” against the president’s trusted cop.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte believes that Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido is clean… There appears to be black propaganda (being) waged against Lt. Col. Espenido to besmirch the reputation of the latter in the eyes of PRRD and the Filipino nation, and to derail his unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs,” Panelo said.
“Lt. Col. Espenido continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the President. PRRD believes that the reports of his alleged involvement in prohibited drugs are untrue,” he added.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier confirmed Espenido’s inclusion in the President’s so-called narcolist.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, meanwhile, remained mum on Espenido’s supposed inclusion, saying the police’s process in validating the drug list must be respected.
Espenido, one of the poster boys of the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs, was tagged as protector of illegal drugs syndicates.
He was also recently relieved from his post as deputy director for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office.
He became controversial after the deaths of Mayor Rolando Espinosa in Albuera, Leyte who was shot while in detention, and Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog in Ozamiz City, where he was previously assigned.
Edited by EDV
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