PNP Western Visayas clears Espenido of drug links
MANILA, Philippines – Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido, one of the poster boys of President Rodrigo Duterte's popular but bloody anti-drug campaign, was cleared of drug links by the Western Visayas Regional Police Office.
This is the first step in Espenido's removal from the controversial drug list of the President.
"Based on the adjudication proceedings of Region VI, he (Espenido) has been cleared," Western Visayas police chief Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan told Rappler in a phone interview on Monday, February 24.
How was he cleared? Adjudication is the term of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for revalidating names on Duterte's drug list. New police chief General Archie Gamboa initiated the effort to bolster the PNP's internal cleansing project.
The names of cops on the list were leaked as Gamboa placed them on floating status and gathered them in Camp Crame on February 7.
According to Pamuspusan, Espenido was cleared on the basis of their regional police office finding no "intelligence information" implicating him in the drug trade.
Duterte had formed his drug list on the basis of intelligence reports – any information, even those yet to be validated, collected by cops from their informants.
What's next? Clearance at the regional level does not mean outright removal from the President's drug list. The regional police office sent its findings to the national police command in Camp Crame, where the PNP's top generals will gather their own information about Espenido.
If cleared at the national level, the PNP will recommend to Duterte that Espenido be taken off the drug list.
Espenido is widely expected to be cleared as the President himself vouched for the cop's credibility. – Rappler.com