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Probe eyed in Espenido inclusion in narco-list

Francis Wakefield

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Malacañang on Wednesday said it will verify reports that controversial cop, Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, is in the narco-list of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Chief presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark in an interview at the Palace.

“Titignan natin kung totoo o hindi (Let’s see if its true or not),” Panelo told reporters.

“If that (report) is officially received by the Office of the President, then the President will investigate,” he added.

Panelo said that he will relay the matter to the President and will then issue a statement on the matter.

However, Panelo expressed doubt on the report.

“Galing pala sa Rappler, pag galing sa Rappler questionable (It came from Rappler, if its from Rappler its questionable),” Panelo said.

“Well, I’m saying if its coming from Rappler, which is known to be spreading false news , then I will have to confirm if its true or not. Parang imposible na mangyari ‘yun (I think that’s impossible),” he added

With him having no idea if Espenido is really included on the list, there is a need to validate it.

“Hindi ko alam kung kasama (I’m not sure if he’s included), but what I’m telling is that we have to validate that,” he said.

Espenido has been relieved from his post as deputy chief for operations of the Bacolod City police, the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed.

Camp Crame, however, did not cite the reason for the sacking of Espenido, who gained notoriety for his involvement in the deadly operations against town and city mayors included in Duterte’s list of “narcopoliticians.”

Espenido’s relief came two days after PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, effected a massive revamp of police officials with ranks from police lieutenant colonel to brigadier general for getting below satisfactory marks in their performance evaluations.

Just like some of the senior officers who were removed from their posts, Espenido was instructed to report to the Office of the Chief PNP, according to the police’s Directorate for Personnel and Records Management.

Espenido was the police chief of Albuera town in Leyte when former illegal drugs-linked mayor Rolando Espinosa was shot dead inside his jail cell in 2016.

From there, he went on to head the Ozamiz City police where he led an operation that led to the death of then Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 15 others also because of their supposed involvement in the narcotics trade.

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