Western Visayas police chief: No reliable info Espenido involved in drugs
MANILA, Philippines — There is no “reliable” report or information that beleaguered Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido is involved in illegal drugs, Western Visayas police chief Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan said Monday.
“As far as Police Regional Office 6 is concerned, there is no reliable information or confirmatory report that would say that Espenido is involved in illegal drugs,” Pamuspusan told reporters in an interview.
This is only concerning Espenido’s stint in Western Visayas, Pamuspusan said, adding that the police’s regional adjudication board’s investigation on Espenido’s case is still ongoing. Results of the probe at the regional level would then be submitted to the national adjudication board.
Espenido, who is known for his hard-hitting campaign against illegal drugs, was reportedly among the 356 cops being monitored by the government as they are named in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug watchlist.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) have already started the verification and adjudication process for the 355 cops – since one of those listed has died recently. PNP chief Archie Gamboa earlier said he is aiming to submit the institution’s recommendations to the President by March 3.
Violation of gag order
Espenido is also currently being probed for his supposed violation of a gag order imposed by Gamboa on the issue of the so-called “narco cops.”
Pamuspusan said he had directed Espenido to explain why he opted to speak in public about his dismay over being included in the government’s drug watchlist.
He also said that Espenido has already submitted his explanation, which is still being assessed to determine if further investigation is needed.
He nevertheless assured that Espenido will not be facing insubordination charges.
Espenido became controversial after mayors allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade were slain under his watch.
In 2016, Espenido was police chief of Albuera town in Leyte when then-mayor Rolando Espinosa Jr., who was detained for being an alleged drug lord, was shot dead inside his jail cell by policemen supposedly due to altercation while they were serving a search warrant.
Espenido was then transferred to Ozamiz in 2017 and in July that year, the city’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group led the police operation that resulted in the killing of Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and 14 others in a raid at the local chief executive’s residence.
In October 2019, Espenido was transferred to Bacolod City and then recently relieved from his post due to undisclosed reasons.
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