Ozamiz police chief, active in anti-drug ops, back in service
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa has set aside a 90-day suspension order he earlier slapped on Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, the Ozamiz City police director.
Espenido once served as the police chief of Albuera, Leyte, who tagged several public figures, including the now slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and his son, Roland “Kerwin” Espinosa, as illegal drug traffickers.
Supt. Lemuel Gonda, the spokesperson of the Northern Mindanao Police Office, said Espenido’s suspension – contained under Special Order 7072 “is hereby cancelled/set aside effective July 13, 2017.”
He said Dela Rosa earlier suspended Espenido due to the complaint filed by Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.
Gomez had taken exception to Espenido’s claim in 2016 that he had connections to the illegal drug operations of Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who was killed inside the Baybay City sub-provincial jail in 2016; and his son Kerwin, who has been arrested and detained since on drug trafficking charges.
Espenido told the Philippine Daily Inquirer he has not received a copy of the cancellation of his suspension order but said he has always been at the disposal of his commanders and ready to follow the orders of his superiors.
“I’m a law-abiding police officer, whatever the order is, I will follow. I have no problem with that,” he said.
But Espenido admitted he had expected to pack his bags after receiving the suspension order last week.
Espenido was appointed as Ozamiz City police chief on December 20, 2016.
His stint in Ozamiz City was also controversial.
In March, he was filmed slapping a crime suspect and just recently, he again figured in acontroversy when some officers from the Ozamiz police reportedly displayed and left nine bodies of suspected criminals killed in an operation, to dry in the sun.
Espenido said he was looking forward to spending the next three months on vacation until the cancelation of his suspension order came in.
“In my 21 years of service, I have yet to take a leave of absence,” he said, adding it would have been the best time for him to take a break.
Ozamiz City has been mentioned by President Duterte as among the local governments with officials linked to illegal drugs. President Duterte once mentioned the names of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his daughter, the city vice mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, as among those linked to the illegal drug trade. But so far, the Philippine National Police has not filed cases against them. SFM
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