Interior and Local government Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed on Friday that Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido, the cop who led the anti-illegal drugs operation against the Parojinog clan in 2017, is included in the government’s controversial narco list.
Año, in a message to reporters, said that Espenido’s inclusion would still undergo “validation and possible investigation.”
On Wednesday, news media outfit Rappler reported that Espenido’s name is included in the controversial list based on their sources, which are two police generals who had knowledge of the list.
Espenido led the deadly operations against the Parojinog clan, whom Duterte accused of the illegal drug trade, in 2017 which resulted in the death of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 15 others.
He was also the police chief of Albuera, Leyte when Mayor Rolando Espinosa died during a bloody police search operation at a jail facility in Baybay City in 2016.
In a statement, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that they will still have to verify the information.
Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said he felt insulted by the media following the reports. He also asked the public to respect policemen and then refused to give comments about Espenido’s recent issue.
“Ang sinabi ko naman sainyo. Respect our [cops]. Nakiusap naman ako na wag na sana nating tingnan yung mga personalities,” a visibly irked Gambo said in a chance interview with reporters in Camp Crame.
“And you know the intention. Here comes (that issue), I feel insulted with that. I will not answer,” he added.
Earlier, Gamboa said that a total of 357 cops are allegedly involved in narcotics. Of that number, 15 have availed optional retirement while 43 others had gone AWOL (absence without leave).