Mabilog on Espenido: He’s welcome but ‘I pray to God for His protection’
Published: 5:59 p.m., Aug. 28, 2017 | Updated: 11:52 p.m., Aug. 28, 2017
ILOILO CITY — Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is baffled but welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido will be assigned here.
“I am puzzled that Chief Inspector Espenido is being assigned here, and that the President has again mentioned my name. But if that is his directive, then I will work closely and cooperate with Chief Inspector Espenido in completely wiping out the remnants, if there are still any, of the illegal drug syndicate in Iloilo City,” Mabilog said in a statement.
Mr. Duterte last year linked Mabilog to the narcotics trade. He also linked Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte province, and Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. of Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental province, to illegal drugs.
Espenido was the Albuera police chief when police raided the subprovincial jail in Baybay City, where Espinosa was held on drug charges, and shot dead the mayor and another inmate in an alleged shootout on Nov. 5 last year.
Espenido was deployed to Ozamiz as chief of police there and on July 30, Parojinog and 14 others, including his wife, were killed in a police drug raid.
Asked whether Espenido’s assignment to Iloilo was a cause for concern for his and his family’s safety, Mabilog said: “I have gone past being afraid. I know I have done what needs to be done to stop illegal drugs in the city. If I didn’t do enough in the past, I am truly remorseful.”
He said he had “almost wholly focused” his efforts on the eradication of drugs in his city during the past year.
“Even if I was effectively stripped of my powers of supervision and control over the police, I poured everything within my authority as local chief executive to help the (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and (Philippine National Police) in pursuing this war,” Mabilog said.
“I pray to God for His protection and guidance. I entrust everything unto Him. I pray that my family will always stay out of harm’s way,” he added.
Mabilog said he hoped Espenido’s assignment in Iloilo would give Mr. Duterte a clearer picture of the drug situation in the city.