Dela Rosa on Espenido being in drug watchlist: “I am vouching for his integrity.”

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020   •   383

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald dela Rosa wants to know the person who included the name of P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido in the government’s drug watchlist or list of cops linked to illegal drug trade.

Senator dela Rosa said it surprised him to hear that Espenido’s name was on the list when it wasn’t the case when he was still the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Hindi ko nakita noong panahon ko, otherwise, hindi ko iyan i-a-appoint (I didn’t see (his name) during my time, otherwise, I wouldn’t have appointed him),” the Senator said.

Dela Rosa transferred Espenido from Albuera, Leyte to Ozamiz City.

Espenido spearheaded the raids that resulted in the killing of then Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and the downfall of the Parojinog drug chain.

Given Espenido’s service history, dela Rosa expressed doubt as to how his name ended up in the President’s drug watchlist.

“Saan galing yan? Lumabas lang out of thin air? (Where did it come from? Did it appear out of thin air?),” the former PNP Chief said.

He urged that the PNP leadership should investigate how it happened, adding that there might be a ‘syndicate’ inside the PNP who wanted to dishonor their comrades.

“Dapat ungkatin ng PNP kung sino ang gumawa ng report na iyan, most likely sindikato na pulis ang gumawa noon (The PNP should investigate who made that report. It’s most likely a syndicate of cops who did that),” dela Rosa noted.

“Dahil kung andyan pa iyang mga pulis na iyan most likely meron na naman iyang gagawing kalokohan sa ibang kasamahan nila na makakalaban nila (Because if those cops are still in position, most likely they will repeat their follies against other cops who oppose them),” the Senator added.

Senator dela Rosa clarified that Espenido still has his full trust and similar to President Duterte, he doesn’t believe Espenido is involved in illegal drugs trade.

“He is my man I am vouching for his integrity,” dela Rosa said of Espenido.

“Kilala ko siya na matino siya (I have known him as a straight cop),” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Espenido to face probe for speaking out on drug list inclusion

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 19, 2020

Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will conduct an investigation on Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido for speaking out on his inclusion in the drug watchlist.

PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa said that he will handle the issue internally.

“Leave it to us. It’s purely an internal issue. I will deal with Espenido squarely as the Chief PNP and he being a member of the PNP,” he said.

Gamboa said that the PNP has a general instruction to over 300 policemen included in the narco list to remain mum on the issue especially when the adjudication process is still ongoing.

Espenido, on Tuesday (February 18), denied his involvement in drugs and said that there was a failure in the intel on the drug watchlist.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte can scrap PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement without Senate approval – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte can terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) even without the concurrence of the Senate, Malacañang said on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the president threatened to scrap the VFA if the US government does not reverse the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa.

“Because it (VFA) is an executive agreement so he can cancel it without the approval of the Senate,” Panelo said.

Dela Rosa on Wednesday confirmed to media that he is not allowed to travel to the US for now after he received notification about his visa cancellation.

The senator said the exact reason on why his US visa was cancelled remains unclear but he heard reports it might be linked to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs that he spearheaded when he was the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from 2016 to 2018.

The VFA, signed by Manila and Washington in 1998, is a bilateral deal which outlines the guidelines for the conduct of government troops when they are visiting the US or the Philippines.

Panelo said the US government should not intervene with the Philippines’ internal issues.

The Palace official also believes the president’s threat to cancel the VFA will not affect Filipino workers in the US. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte on Espenido’s assignment: ‘Bacolod is badly hit now’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has assigned Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido to Bacolod City because the city is “badly hit” by illegal drugs.

The deployment of Espenido was announced on Thursday (October 17), during the President’s speech at the 45th Business Conference and Expo in Manila.

“Bacolod is badly hit now and I placed Espenido there, iyong tinatakutan nila na pulis, (the police who is feared)” he said. “Sabi ko (I said), ‘Go there and you are free to kill everybody.’ T*** i**** iyan. ‘Go, start killing them.’”

Espenido, who was recently promoted from the rank of major to lieutenant colonel, faced controversies after the illegal drug operation in 2016.

In November 2016, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed in the custodial facility during the service of a warrant. Meanwhile in 2017, Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 other men were killed during a police operation.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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