President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he sent Jovie Espenido, the police officer who gained notoriety for leading deadly operations against drug-linked politicians, to Bacolod City so he can “kill everybody.”
In a speech before businessmen, Duterte said he told Espenido to “go there and you are free to kill everybody.”
He said he assigned the policeman, who got a one-rank promotion from Major to Lieutenant Colonel, to Bacolod because it is “badly hit” by illegal drugs.
Duterte also warned policemen and other people involved in illegal drugs that he can be “more evil” than they are.
“Kayong mga ninja [cops,] kayong mga holdaper, kayong mga drug pusher, akala niyo kayo lang ang matigas?” Duterte said Thursday night to an audience of businessmen. “That’s a very stupid paradigm because I can be evil like you — and more than if I want to be.”
[Translation: You ninja cops, you robbers, you drug pushers, you think you’re the only ones who can be thugs? … That’s a very stupid paradign because I can be evil like you — and more than if I want to be.]
In January, Duterte sacked Bacolod’s police chief and four other police officers over their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
Espenido is now deputy city director for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office, a post he assumes after a controversial stint in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.
He said he wants to go after the “big fishes” in Bacolod’s illegal drug trade. He may be able to do so as the city police director PCol Henry Biñas intends to place him in the Bacolod City Drug Enforcement Unit.
Espenido admitted people may be expecting bloody operations wherever he goes, but he assured Bacolodnons that standard operating procedures will be followed if ever he’s given the chance to handle any operation.
The controversial Espenido was the chief of police of Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City where the two mayors, Rolando Espinosa, Sr. and Reynaldo Parojinog were killed in police operations in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Duterte awarded Espenido in 2017 for his contributions to the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Espenido was transferred to Catanduanes in Bicol in October 2018 only to return to Ozamiz the following month as residents supposedly feared the remaining members of the drug-linked Parojinog group.