Who is afraid of Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido?

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THE President’s order deploying Chief Inspector Espenido to Iloilo raises some serious questions:

  1. Mayor Jed Mabilog remains a drug protector?
  2. The President does not trust the police force in Iloilo?
  3. Illegal drugs remain rampant in Iloilo?
  4. Who will join the illegal drugs statistics in Iloilo City?

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President Duterte first described Iloilo as the most “shabulized” city in the country last year. The description came out when he publicly disclosed the names of politicians, judges and police officers in his so-called narco-list. To further galvanize Iloilo City’s drug reputation, the President later made a follow up label, “bedrock of Shabu.”

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Mayor Jed Mabilog was in the center of this presidential labeling of Iloilo City, the President accusing the local chief executive as a “drug protector”, stripping Mabilog of any official influence over the police.

But just last week, Duterte declared that shabu in Iloilo was “medyo wala na”. As a matter of course, Mabilog expressed happiness over the positive comment from the President. But even before he can complete his leap of joy, the President dropped another sledgehammer with the deployment of Chief Inspector Espenido to Iloilo.

Espenido gained national prominence what with the arrest of Mayor Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte and the destruction and killing of the Parojinog drug group in Ozamis. With his reputation as a no-nonsense anti-drug operative, Espenido instantly became a household name in the campaign against illegal drugs.

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It is obvious that the President does not believe that the drug problem in Iloilo City is “solved”. It is apparent that he still wants Mabilog “solved”.

So, will Espenido kill Mabilog? By killing Mabilog, will the drug problem in the city be solved?

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The deployment of Espenido in Iloilo City shows the President’s obvious lack of trust and confidence in the local police force.

It is common knowledge here that Dragon while still alive was considered as the lord of lords in Iloilo City. And the local officialdom including the PDEA and the police were powerless and helpless in the face of the Dragon.

But Dragon was not the only PDEA-identified drug lord with operational base in the city. Another is Richard “Buang” Prevendido, according to PDEA. Prevendido remains alive and elusive despite the court’s issuance of a warrant for his arrest. Prevendido, reports say, remains in business but the police can’t locate him. Can Espenido solve the “Buang” conundrum?

Buang alive and scot-free is a blot on the local police’s image.

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Espenido’s journey in Iloilo City also lends credence to rumors that the illegal drug trade here remains rampant. Certain Ilonggos asked for his iron fist to be assigned here following the pronouncements of the President and PNP Chief Bato about a “new drug player”. Digong and Bato have not publicly identified this new player but we hear some names being whispered around. Is this the real reason why Espenido is being assigned here?

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This corner can’t believe talks that Mabilog is a drug pusher. Perhaps, he is guilty of sin of omission because of his nonchalance attitude on the illegal drug trade during the heydays of Dragon. Will his nonchalance make him a good candidate for extra-judicial killing?

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This corner also believes that the drug problem is equally if not more rampant in the province of Iloilo what with a number of nameless players still alive and kicking especially in the 5th District. I hope that Espenido will be given a position that will authorize him to operate not only in the city but in the province as well. Truth to tell, there are more politicians, policemen and individuals in the province worth the Duterte brand of justice than in the city.



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