MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled his own order assigning Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa said Monday, September 4.
“The big reason is si Presidente mismo ang nagbigay ng instruction na ‘wag nang ituloy dahil nga madedemoralize ‘yung mga tao sa Ozamiz kung tanggalin natin si Epenido doon, dahil balita ko nga mag-People Power sila kung tanggalin si Espenido doon sa Ozamiz,” the PNP chief told reporters in a press briefing.
(The big reason is the President himself gave the order not to push through [with the order] because the people of Ozamiz will be demoralized if we take Espenido elsewhere, because I heard the people there will do a People Power if we remove Espenido from Ozamiz.)
In a previous press briefing, Dela Rosa said that if he had his way, he would ask Espenido to stay in Ozamiz City as his job there is not yet done.
Espenido commanded the drug raid which led to the killing of Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife, and 13 others. (READ: The Parojinogs and the tangled webs they wove)
After the operation, Dela Rosa had said they expect peace to prevail but said there is much to be done still.
He also belied claims that the reversal of the assignment was in light of the killing of Iloilo’s most wanted drug personality Richard Prevendido Friday evening, September 1. The operation on the drug lord, he said, had been planned long before Espenido’s reassignment.
He also denied that Espenido’s rank, which is disproportionate to his supposedly new position, as the reason for his appointment’s cancellation. (READ: Why Jovie Espenido can’t be Iloilo’s chief of police)
Despite Duterte dubbing its province as the “most shabulized” in the country, Dela Rosa also said earlier that Iloilo City can wait, praising Mayor Jed Mabilog for admitting that he neglected to put a stop to the drug problem, and promising that he would try his best in anti-drug efforts. – Rappler.com