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Now Reading: NARCO COPS | Interior boss says Duterte still trusts police officer on narco list
NARCO COPS | Interior boss says Duterte still trusts police officer on narco list
February 17, 2020 , 01:01 PM

FEBRUARY 17, 2020 – President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts a controversial police officer who was in his drug watch list due to his track record in fighting illegal drugs, the interior secretary said on Monday.

Retired military general Eduardo Año believed Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido’s drug campaign in Ozamiz City, which resulted in the death of mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others in 2017, may help him clear his name.

The Parojinogs were in president’s list of high value narco-politicians.

“I don’t know with Espenido, but probably, it’s a challenge for him,” Año said in a press briefing in Quezon City. “Kaya ‘yung pinamalas niyang paglaban sa droga doon sa operation sa Ozamiz, napakalaking factor ‘yun para mag-serve in his favor.”

“Sa tingin ko ‘yun rin ang nakita ng ating Pangulo, bakit nagbigay ng statement ang Pangulo na siya ay naniniwala na malinis si Espenido at hindi involved sa drugs,” he added.

Año has earlier said Espenido was listed among the 357 policemen in the narcolist, but said he remains innocent until the accusations against him were proven true.

It was used as a basis to remove him from his position in Bacolod City and place him under the office of the national police chief in Camp Crame.

The president’s office said the allegations against Espinoido could be part of a “black propaganda” to “besmirch the reputation of [Espenido] in the eyes of [Duterte]” and to “derail his unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs.”

“Ngayon patunayan mo na hindi ka involved sa drugs, kung wala kang masubmit na anumang dokumentong magpapatunay, pangunahan mo ang paglaban sa droga,” Año advised to police officers and politicians involved in the drugs watch list.

“Ikaw mismo maging visible ka diyan prove to the public that you are fighting against drugs,” he added.

Duterte has previously praised Espenido after leading the anti-illegal drugs raid at the Parojinog compound in Misamis Occidental.

He also led operations against the drug syndicate allegedly ran by Kerwin Espinosa, the son of then Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

The mayor eventually surrendered but was killed in an alleged altercation inside the jail.

Despite these, Espenido has been reassigned to key police posts in Virac, Catanduanes and Office of the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

The PNP also gave the 357 police officers included in the watch list an option for early retirement as the adjudication process begins. Police chief General Archie Gamboa, however, said the early retirement  will not stop the filing of criminal charges against them if their involvement in illegal drugs is proven. (Karen Macalalad/MM)

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