After inclusion in Duterte’s ‘narcolist’, Espenido says politicians now after him
MANILA, Philippines — After his inclusion in the government’s drug watchlist was made public, Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, who became the prototype agent of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war, on Wednesday claimed that politicians affected by his job as a policeman are running after him.
In a press briefing at the Bacolod City Police Office, Espenido was asked who he thinks wanted his downfall as he raised questions on who might have caused his inclusion in the drugs watchlist of the President.
“That kind of question I cannot really pinpoint but this is one thing I can tell you. Mga tao (Certain people), number one… greed, a greedy kind of person. Number one, politicians talaga,” he said.
“‘Yung nabangga natin sa trabaho since PO1 pa ako (The kind that I probably rattled in my job since I was a Police Officer 1). That kind of person maybe runs after me,” he added. PO1, now called Patrolman in the revised police ranks, is the lowest rank in the Philippine National Police.
After stating such conjecture, Espenido then addressed whoever caused his inclusion in Duterte’s list of personalities purportedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
“I do believe that the person who ngayon nagtingin sa akin, ikaw ang (is now looking at me is) guilty,” he said.
But despite this, Espenido said he is not afraid of anyone.
“Wala akong kinatatatakutan. Bakit ako matakot sa kanila (I fear no one. Why would I be afraid of them)?… You are free to kill me anytime because hindi ko hawak ang buhay ko (I have no control over my life),” he said.
Meanwhile, Espenido apologized to his superiors at PNP for coming out in public but explained he only wants to clear his name.
Previously, he said that being included in the list was a failure of intelligence.
“Maghingi ako ng sorry sa lahat ng mga officers (superiors) ko na ako nagsalita ngayon. Intindihin nyo naman ako, Sir, Ma’am, na pangalan ko na [ang nakataya],” he said.
(I apologize to my superiors that I am speaking out now. Please understand me, Sir, Ma’am, that it is my name now at stake.)
He clarified he wasn’t saying that PNP is a bad institution but that the unit that allowed his inclusion in the list might have committed a mistake.
Espenido then reiterated his innocence, citing big-time anti-drug operations he led against local politicians and syndicates.
Espenido’s name hogged the headlines for the deaths of then-Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, during the service of search warrants in his detention cell in 2016, and then-Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City in a drug raid in 2017.
He was the police chief in these areas when the two local chief executives, tagged as “narco-politicians,” died in police operations. While he became controversial for these incidents, it also made him earn the praise of no less than the President, who made the anti-drug campaign the centerpiece program of his administration.
Edited by KGA
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