By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte formally assigned Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City, which Duterte described earlier as the “bedrock” of illegal drugs in Visayas.
Duterte conferred Espenido the Order of Lapu Lapu Medal of Magalong during the celebration of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City Monday morning.
The Magalong Medal is conferred on officials and personnel of the government and private individuals who have rendered “extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”
Espenido is known to have led the raids on the houses of the Parojinog clan last month which led to the death of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others.
He was also the police commander of Albuera, Leyte when Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in what the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) called a rubout inside the jail in Baybay City.
Both Parojinog and Espinosa were reported to have links to the illegal drug trade.
Duterte yesterday cut his speech to announce Espenido’s new assignment.
“I will ask you again. You asked for the assignment sa (in), Leyte. Namatay ang mayor doon [sa Albuera] (The mayor in Albuera died). You asked for another assignment sa (in) Ozamiz, namatay ang mayor doon, si Parojinog (Mayor Parojinog died),” Duterte said.
“Ngayon, gusto mo sa Iloilo, kasi si (Now you want to be assigned in Iloilo because) [Mayor] Mabilog has been identified as a protector. Mabuhay kaya siya (Will he still live)?” the President jested.
“Gusto ko lang tanungin kasi ako naman ang pagbibintangan. Ikaw nga ang nagbaril diyan tapos ako ang napa-publish kung saan-saan eh (I just want to ask because people would be blaming me. You pull the trigger yet my name’s the one being published everywhere),” he continued, earning laughter from the crowd.
After his speech, Duterte told reporters that he trusts Espenido because the latter is a “dedicated man” and he wants his efforts replicated in other parts of the country.
“He is a dedicated man. He knows his law. So, he should replicate his exploits in other parts of the country. If he wants to be assigned in Iloilo, I will assign him there,” Duterte said.
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has been linked by Duterte to illegal drug operations. Shortly after he was linked, Mabilog met with Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa who scolded him for allegedly allowing the drug operations in Iloilo to prosper.
Earlier this month, Mabilog insisted that his city is drug-free despite Duterte’s pronouncement. However, the Mayor said he could not help but worry following the deaths of Espinosa and Parojinog.
Tags: Albuera, drug operations, Duterte, Duterte assigns Espenido to Iloilo City, Iloilo City, Manila Bulletin, Order of Lapu Lapu Medal of Magalong, Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, Reynaldo Parojinog
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