Parojinogs tried to bribe me with ‘a sack of P100 bills’ – Espenido
OZAMIZ CITY – Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido said as soon as he arrived here in December last year, the Parojinogs allegedly immediately tried to bribe him so that he would not tackle criminality – including drugs – seriously.
“They’re dead already and I would not want to be talking about it anymore. But it’s true. It’s more than a sack of P100 bills,” Espenido said, without saying the exact amount of the bribe allegedly offered him.
He said the bribery was so blatant.
“I’m telling you, I only experienced bribery here. Maybe it was the same reason why the past police chiefs haven’t performed well because of the (Parojinogs’) practice,” Espenido told the Inquirer.
Woman offered her body
He said the Parojinogs tried hard to bribe him “by all means” that somebody – whom he would not identify – even “offered her body” to him.
“I was so amused that she would use her body to get what she wanted,” Espenido said.
He said if he was immoral, he could have accepted everything offered to him.
“I came to realize that if a man is greedy, he would really be bought,” he said.
“If I accepted the offers, what can I possibly accomplish here? How can I possibly implement the laws?” he asked.
In his third day into office, Espenido said he found himself inside the conference room of a local Born-Again Christian church to talk about a serious and delicate topic: illicit businesses.
It was kind of weird, he said, as there was also Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr.; Parojinog’s wife, Susan; daughter and Vice Mayor Nova Princess; brother-in-law Artemio Salas; uncle Manuel Francisco; and younger brother, Ricardo.
Espenido said during the conversation, he was frank and straightforward: “End your (illegal) activities so we will not have problems with each other.”
Espenido recalled him telling the Parojinogs that he was deployed here mainly to deal with them.
Espenido said he particularly addressed the appeal to mayor Parojinog and Ricardo to surrender their horde of firearms; and to Nova Princess, Susan, Ricardo, Francisco and Salas (or Artem) to end their alleged involvement in the shabu trade.
Espenido further asked Ricardo, also known as Ardot, to turn over to authorities several fugitives he is allegedly coddling, and Francisco, also known as Maning, to end his extortion activities.
There was stony silence, Espenido recalled. “And then a series of denials followed.”
Firearms by the truckload
In August last year, Parojinog turned over some 13 firearms licensed under his name, in keeping with an oral directive by President Duterte for him to do so. This followed his featuring in Duterte’s list of narco-politicians.
“We were told that they have firearms by the truckload,” he said.
“I told them then that I don’t still have evidence against each of them but I vowed that if they don’t cooperate, I will build the case for each of them,” Espenido related.
Series of arrests
Espenido narrated that he started small in his effort to pin down the five personalities. “We raided small time traders, squeezed information from them until we were able to establish the flow up to the sources of drugs.”
Several months ago, police forces busted the illicit drug trading operation of a former trial court judge and her husband.
Information taken from them eventually led police to the doorsteps of Artem and Ardot, Espenido said.
Another successful operation on another set of mid-level traders led to Susan and Nova, he added.
Even during her arrest, a video of which showed she tried to hide a pack of crystalline substance in the palm of her hand, Nova Princess maintained her innocence over her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
“The revelations of those arrested pointed to the attempt of Artem and Ardot to operate a portable and kitchen-scale shabu laboratory,” Espenido said.
Salas and Ricardo have not been seen in the city for some time now, according to Espenido. Ricardo was not around when the bloody raid that killed 15 people – including mayor Parojinog – took place on Sunday.
Espenido said he did what he had to do and ran after lawless elements here.
In March, at least 12 suspected drug pushers were killed in a massive police operation that he headed.
Espenido said he was used to pressures and did not mind them in the performance of his job as a law enforcer.
He recounted that when he was assigned in Calbayog City, a politician also got angry with him.
Espenido said the politician’s anger got him into trouble with then Interior secretary Senen Sarmiento – who later reassigned him to Davao City.
“After the 2016 elections, I was assigned in Albuera, Leyte and managed to dismantle the Espinosa drug syndicate,” he said.
Espenido said his only principle in life is to implement the rule of law and has not complained even if he was given new assignments.
“Everything has a purpose,” he said.
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