Espenido facing probe over remarks on narco list inclusion
Espenido yesterday held a nearly two-hour press conference in Bacolod City where he again went on the offensive against those he described as corrupt politicians and police officers who may be behind the inclusion of his name in the narco list.
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Espenido facing probe over remarks on narco list inclusion
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - February 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido is facing another probe after he spoke out in public about his inclusion in President Duterte’s narco list.

A visibly irked Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa yesterday ordered a probe on Espenido two days after the latter broke his silence about his inclusion in the drugs list.

“It’s purely an internal issue. I will deal with Espenido squarely as the chief PNP and he being a member of the PNP,” Gamboa said at a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Espenido yesterday held a nearly two-hour press conference in Bacolod City where he again went on the offensive against those he described as corrupt politicians and police officers who may be behind the inclusion of his name in the narco list.

In earlier interviews with media, Espenido said he is not discounting the possibility that there was a failure of intelligence on the part of the PNP for including him in the list.

Asked if what Espenido has been doing is a form of insubordination, Gamboa answered: “Not yet. That’s why he will be investigated.”

Gamboa said he instructed that police officials in the narco list, including Espenido, should not speak while the adjudication and validation processes are ongoing.

“We’re coming up with social media protocols because you have to resort to our own internal mechanism. So why Espenido? That’s why I will deal with him internally,” Gamboa added.

Gamboa has repeatedly refused to confirm if Espenido is on the list as he has promised the listed police officers that he would not mention their names in public so as not to humiliate them.

It was Interior Secretary Eduardo Año who confirmed that Espenido is on the list.

A total of 357 police officers were included on the drugs watchlist, but one of them was killed during a shooting incident earlier this month.

Gamboa hopes to submit his recommendations on the police officials to Duterte during a joint command conference with the Armed Forces of the Philippines on March 5.

‘Greedy politicians’

Espenido yesterday linked “greedy politicians” to the revival of his name on the narco list, despite his exclusion by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in 2017.

At a press conference at the Bacolod City Police Office headquarters, Espenido also questioned the credibility of the information fed to the intelligence community which had been submitted to the Office of the Chief of the PNP.

He also apologized to Gamboa and his other senior officers for explaining his side to the public, despite an order for police personnel included in the narco list to wait for the outcome of the one-month adjudication process.

Espenido refused to identify the politicians behind his inclusion on the list as well as names of police personnel and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives he had linked to the illegal drug trade, adding that it will be known soon.

Stressing that he is not afraid of them, Espenido disclosed that they are now being targeted for police operations, noting that drug pushers are getting bolder because of their influence and protection.

He also strongly debunked allegations of his being linked to a series of drug-related deaths in Bacolod City, stressing that he is pro-life, although he said deaths could not be avoided sometimes during legitimate police operations.

Espenido, who used to be the deputy director for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office that also supervised its anti-drug operations, is presently assigned at the Office of the Chief PNP and detailed at the Police Regional Office 6 for adjudication of his inclusion in the narco list.

Espenido, however, said his inclusion in the narco list is not a reason for him to stop fighting against illegal drugs, even if he is alone.

“What is important is do your best as mandated by the law, as best as we can, and God will do the rest,” he added.

At the same time, he advised personnel of the intelligence community to be true to themselves, stressing that he is a victim of politics. 

“To know the real situation, we must always process the intelligence cycle before giving it to the end-user,” Espenido said, referring to the PNP chief.

Espenido also expressed hope that the PNP will change its method of information-gathering. – With Gilbert Bayoran

JOVIE ESPENIDO NARCO LIST
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