Drug-listed Espenido faces probe for speaking out vs PNP

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will probe one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s most favored cops, Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido, after he spoke out against his superiors over his inclusion in the President’s drug list.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, February 19, a reporter asked whether Espenido’s statements against the police’s top officials would be considered “insubordination.” (READ: Espenido breaks his silence: PNP committed failure of intelligence on drug list)

PNP chief Archie Gamboa replied, “Not yet. That’s why he will be investigated.”

When asked further by reporters about the probe, Gamboa declined to comment and said that the PNP “will deal with him internally.”

Why the probe? Gamboa said that all the cops included in President Duterte’s drug list had been given the “general instruction” to keep silent about the list, moreso to refuse revealing their opinions about it.

The top cop gave this instruction during his meeting with the drug-listed cops on February 7, where he also gave them the option to avail of early retirement to keep their benefits untouched while the PNP pursues an investigation against them. (READ: Big funds, little transparency: How Duterte's drug list works)

Insubordination is considered a breach of internal discipline by the PNP, which is punishable by admonition, reprimand, restriction to specified locations, withholding of privileges, forfeiture of salary or suspension, or any combination of these punishments.

What did Espenido say? In a phone interview with Rappler on Monday, Espenido slammed Gamboa and other police officials for supposedly failing to verify his name more thoroughly before sacking him and calling him to Camp Crame.

Ikaw ang chief, PNP. Baka mabalikan ka, kasi ang mga tao, nakatingin sa ’yo as the head of the PNP,” Espenido said in the interview with Rappler, as he was dismayed about his inclusion. (You are the PNP chief. This might go against you, because the people are looking at you as the head of the PNP.)

Espenido changed his tune on Wednesday morning, saying that he was “grateful” for Gamboa’s decision to double-check his inclusion and for offering drug-listed cops the option to retire early. – 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.