Año confirms Espenido is on Duterte's own drug list

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has confirmed that drug war poster boy Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido is on President Rodrigo Duterte's own drug list.

"Yes, that's true," Año said in a text message to reporters on Friday, February 14.

Año provides the first official confirmation that Espenido is on the controversial drug list. Rappler broke the story of Espenido's inclusion on February 12, but top cop General Archie Gamboa had since refused to confirm or deny the information.

Espenido in the drug list delivers a big blow to President Duterte's unrelenting but still lagging campaign to bring down the illegal drugs trade in the Philippines.

Operations man Espenido is behind the operation that killed Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog. He was also the police chief of Albuera, Leyte, when its detained mayor, Rolando Espinosa, was shot dead by cops during the service of a search warrant in his detention cell at dawn. (READ: Jovie Espenido sans the uniform)

For the deadly stings and his other achievements in the so-called drug war, Espenido was awarded by Duterte with two medals within 3 weeks in 2017. In October 2019, Duterte pushed for his promotion to become the chief of operations of Bacolod City police, even telling Espenido that he had a free hand to "kill everybody." – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.