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Duterte assigns Espenido to Iloilo

By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

President Duterte formally assigned Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City, the city Duterte earlier described as the “bedrock” of illegal drugs in Visayas.

This as Duterte conferred Espenido the Order of Lapu Lapu Medal of Magalong during the celebration of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig City Monday morning.

Espenido is known to have led the raids on the houses of the Parojinog clan last month which led to the death of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others.

He was also the police commander of Albuera, Leyte when Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in what the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) called a rubout inside the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City.

Both Parojinog and Espinosa were reported to have links to the illegal drug trade.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has been linked by Duterte to illegal drug operations. Shortly after he was linked, Mabilog met with Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa who scolded him for allegedly allowing the drug operations in Iloilo to prosper.

Earlier this month, Mabilog insisted that his city is drug-free despite Duterte’s pronouncement.

However, Duterte reminded Espenido to always follow the rules of engagement in police operations.

“If you do the country a favor, I will support you. And then we’ll all go to jail, do not worry,” Duterte told Espenido.

The President told Espenido to remind his men that they can only pull the trigger when their lives are in danger and in the actual performance of duty.

Mabilog, in a statement, said he was already anticipating Espenido’s assignment to Iloilo and he expects the police official to get rid of Iloilo’s drug problem.