OZAMIZ City Police Director Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido is moving to Iloilo City, the city once called by President Rodrigo Duterte as “most shabulized” in the country.
The President on Monday announced Espenido’s next assignment in a speech he delivered at the National Heroes’ Day celebration in Taguig City.
“Your next assignment is Iloilo,” Duterte said.
“Just follow the rules of engagement, the requirements of the performance of duty, which you have learned in your PNPA (Philippine National Police Academy) for almost four years,” he added.
Espenido was the Albuera police chief when the town mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was shot dead by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group inside his detention cell in Baybay City in November 2016.
Espenido was then reassigned and designated as head of the Ozamiz City Police Office, a month after the killing of Espinosa.
Espenido was under fire anew after Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 15 others were killed in simultaneous anti-drug operations on July 30.
Duterte earlier tagged Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog as among the government officials involved in illegal drugs.
“I will ask you again, you asked for assignment in Leyte, the town mayor died. You asked for another assignment sa Ozamiz, the town mayor died—Parojinog. Now, you want to be assigned in Iloilo because Mabilog has been identified as a (drug)-protector mayor. Is he going to live?” Duterte asked.
“I want to ask because I might be accused. You killed them, but my name was dragged into several headlines,” he added.
The President reminded Espenido to exercise lawful performance of duty on his new assignment, saying murder and homicide is not allowed.
“Murder and homicide or whatever unlawful killing is not allowed. But in the performance of your duty, tell your men that whenever their life is in danger and they are in the actual performance of duty, your duty requires you to overcome the resistance of the person you’re arresting,” he said.
“If there is violence, then you have to overcome that violence to bring him to the folds of the law and you can put him under your custody. But if he resists and if it is a violent one, I hate to see dead policemen and soldiers performing their duty, do you hear me?” Duterte added.
Duterte said Espenido would get his support, as long as he follows his order.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said that Espenido would be a good addition to the city’s police force if he chooses to be assigned in Cebu.
However, Osmeña said his assignment to Cebu should not substitute anyone.
“He would be a good addition, but not substitution,” Osmeña said in a text message.
For his part, Councilor Dave Tumulak said Espenido is welcome in the city. But Tumulak warned the police officer that Cebu City is different from other areas.
Tumulak, who is also the deputy mayor for police matters, said he believes in the courage of Espenido when it comes to public order and safety, but wider intelligence gathering is needed.
“I do believe in his courage to implement public order and safety in areas where he is assigned. But I would like to remind him that Cebu City is different. He has to start from scratch if he will be assigned here,” he told reporters.
Espenido, who was in Cebu last Saturday to attend a religious activity, told reporters that he is willing to be reassigned to Central Visayas.
Tumulak said the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), which is headed by Senior Supt. Joel Doria, is doing a good job in terms of its war against illegal drugs.
Asked on what aspect Doria has to improve, Tumulak said it’s on replacing police scalawags who are still assigned in CCPO.
Tumulak said he has been receiving reports about the matter.
“Whoever heads CCPO is okay, but what is important is the proper cooperation with the public, so they can get information from them,” he said. (RVC, SunStar Philippines)