Espenido previously said he could be targeted by drug lords and even by the government because of his inclusion in the list of police officials suspected to be involved in illegal drugs trade.
Senate File photo
Palace assures Espenido of protection
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday assured Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido – a poster boy of President Duterte’s controversial war on illegal drugs – of protection.

Espenido previously said he could be targeted by drug lords and even by the government because of his inclusion in the list of police officials suspected to be involved in illegal drugs trade.

“If that is the fear of (Lt.) Col. Espenido, then we cannot stop him from entertaining such apprehension. But the President will not allow anyone to be hurt or to be harmed outside of what is allowed by law. Outside of legal processes, or methods sanctioned by law. If Col. Espenido would want to ask for any protective measure from the government, then he can so request,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at a press briefing in Malacañang.  

Espenido has denied involvement in the narcotics trade and expressed suspicion that the information about his alleged ties with illicit drugs were fabricated by “greedy politicians” who had clashed with him.

Duterte has vouched for his integrity and expressed belief that there is black propaganda intended to discredit the police official.

Malacañang, however, clarified this week that Duterte’s view on Espenido would change if there is credible evidence linking the police official to illegal drugs.

Panelo said it would be up to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to decide whether to release evidence on the alleged involvement of Espenido in the narcotics trade.

He also declined to comment on the PNP’s plan to probe Espenido for allegedly violating a gag order on his inclusion in the drug watchlist. 

“The President does not meddle with their job. They should do their work. They cannot be relying on the President’s instruction on what to do. Now with respect to the gag order, according to (PNP chief) Gen. (Archie) Gamboa he will confront it, meaning he will investigate whether he violated the gag order or not,” he added. 

Panelo said Duterte has not received information that would prove that Espenido is into illegal drugs and that he still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President.

The police official gained prominence for his participation in the operations against politicians accused of protecting drug syndicates.

He led a 2017 drug raid that resulted in the death of Ozamiz mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife Susan, his brother board member Octavio Parojinog Jr. and sister Mona. – With Jennifer Rendon, Emmanuel Tupas

JOVIE ESPENIDO
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