Freeman Region

Pressures from the top? Espenido says he's willing to step down from his post

Miriam Garcia Desacada - The Freeman

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido yesterday said he is ready to step down from his post as chief of the Albuera Police in Leyte, following rumors that his immediate relief has already been sought by top officials and influential people named in the affidavits of the slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

"I am always ready to step down as a good soldier and will always follow orders from my superiors once a relieve  order will be received by my office. No problem about it. We (police officials) come and go from our posts, but of course there's no personal motive on my side. Trabaho lang, walang personalan." Espenido told The Freeman.

Espenido have earned the ire of some government officials, and even the journalists, who were included in the drug cases–which he filed in court–based on the testimonies of the slain mayor and some witnesses who were part of the Espinosa drug ring.

Espenido said he expected reprisals from government officials, who he already learned have asked top officials in Camp Crame to have him removed from his post. He said he welcomes such scenario and that he is willing to follow orders from the higher ups.

In a phone interview, Espenido told The Freeman that Chief Superintendent Elmer Beltejar, director of the Police Regional Office-8, and sources from the PNP national headquarters that Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez and other officials in the region–named in the Espinosa narco-list–have already asked for his ouster from the Albuera Police post.

Last week, Gomez filed before the National Police Commission administrative charges against Espenido, Chief Inspector Leo Laraga of the CIDG-8 and Police Officer 3 Hydie Yutraga, who the city mayor accused of being responsible in linking him to the illegal drug operations of Espinosa in Eastern Visayas.

Prior to Gomez's filing of charges against Espenido, Lalaine Jimenea–one of the three Ormoc-based media personalities who were sued in court for allegedly receiving drug payola from the Espinosa group–also filed a string of cases against the Albuera chief of police.

Jimenea accused Espenido of allegedly coddling Mayor Espinosa, then a drug suspect linked to his son, suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa Jr. She also requested the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation against Espenido for grave misconduct and abuse of authority.

Espenido, however, told The Freeman that such move was "a clear desperate move from one who is a respondent of the criminal case he already filed before the Leyte Provincial Prosecution's Office.

During the visit of Dela Rosa in Leyte, he confirmed that several personalities had sought for the relief of Espenido, but said he declined these requests because he said these were baseless.

Espenido finally clarified that everything he has done in the war against illegal drugs, under the Duterte administration, was never biased but was fair and without personal motive.

"That is why whatever happens to my life and my career, I am not afraid because the truth is with me," he added. (FREEMAN)

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