Dela Rosa to Carpio: Are Espinosa, Parojinog small-time drug lords?

Rambo Talabong
Dela Rosa to Carpio: Are Espinosa, Parojinog small-time drug lords?
Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa questions why Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio thinks police are ignoring big-time drug lords

MANILA, Philippines – “Tingnan ‘nyo. ‘Yun bang si Parojinog small-time ‘yun? ‘Yun bang si Kerwin Espinosa, small-time ba ‘yan?” (Look. Is Parojinog small-time? Is Kerwin Espinosa small-time?)

This was the response of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Tuesday, December 12, when asked about the PNP’s supposed penchant for ignoring big-time drug lords.

It was Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who recently raised this concern during oral arguments on the drug war.

Dela Rosa was referring to Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr, who was killed in a drug raid last July. Kerwin Espinosa, meanwhile, is an alleged drug lord captured by the PNP in November 2016.

According to Dela Rosa, they have achieved so much in their drug war, not just against drug suspects in the streets, but also against the rich and powerful.

“‘Yung mga mayor, small-time ba ‘yun? Bakit niya masasabi na doon kami nag-concentrate, sa small-time [suspects]? ‘Yung mga Chinese traffickers na napatay, small-time ba ‘yun?” the PNP chief added.

(Are the mayors small-time? Why did he say that we were focusing on small-time suspects? The Chinese traffickers killed, are they small-time?)

Dela Rosa was not immediately able to reply to Carpio last week during the SC oral arguments, as the PNP chief was attending an anti-terrorism conference in New York City. (READ: Dela Rosa no-show in Supreme Court EJK hearing)

In response to Carpio’s question on how the PNP is addressing drug lords based in China, Dela Rosa said, “It’s a work in progress.”

“‘Wag tayo masyadong mawalan ng pag-asa because meron namang ginagawa (Let’s not lose hope because something is being done),” he said.

Dela Rosa added that he assigned Senior Superintendent Albert Ferro to the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) because he knows Ferro has “international contacts.” –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.