War on drugs poster boy says he’s pro-life

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – I am pro-life.

This was stressed by controversial Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido, as he reacted to accusations that he was allegedly behind the death of some suspected drug personalities here.

Espenido said he has nothing to do with the killings here because he entered the police service without thinking of getting any revenge.

Since January this year, the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) has recorded six-drug related killings here. Among those killed were a village councilman and a former police officer.

Some local government officials already expressed concern over the unsolved cases but the BCPO assured that they do not neglect them and that they continue to investigate all the cases.

Espenido was assigned here as head of the City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) before he was ordered relieved by the higher headquarters.

Maraming patayan sa Bacolod, kagagawan ko? Grabe sila. Ako na nga may problema (referring to his implication in the narco-list). Isa lang ang amo ko. Ang Panginoon lang talaga, dependent ako kay God,” he said.

“It may happen na mabaril ko ang tao dahil part iyon na danger sa life ko. I work hard with my conscience and for the lives of my comrades to defend ourselves na hindi din kami mamatay. Kung patayin natin (drug suspects) it will stop right there and then na hindi na tayo makakuha ng information,” he said.

Espenido said those persons responsible for the killings are not exempted with consequences from God. “I have conscience and I am pro-life,” he said, claiming he is working on legitimate police operations to protect lives.

He said if there’s violation committed during police operations, there is a department in the police organization that conducts motu propio investigation.

Wala tayong style na hoodlum-hoodlum. May Panginoon na nakatingin. Huwag magdesisyon na si Espenido talaga ang pumatay ng tao. Grabe naman kayo. May mga kapit-bahay kayo na pumapatay tapos ako ituro niyo?” he said.

“I do believe na magsasalita yan (drug suspect) ng totoo kung mahuli ko, kung patayin ko siya, ma-erase na iyong drugs? Ang buhay continuous iyan,” he said, claiming he works in keeping with the rule of law.

Last year, Duterte ordered Espenido to be assigned here to go aggressive against drug personalities, since the president considered Bacolod with serious drug problem.

With this, people assumed that it will be a bloody drug war here, considering Espenido’s record on the anti-illegal drug campaign in his previous assignments in Ozamis and Leyte. But, the controversial police official consistently refuted that it will not be bloody because he does not intend to kill anybody unless there is already danger in the part of the police operatives during legitimate operations.

“We should do our part na maging totoo, may epekto ito pag hindi natin gawin ang mabuti sa trabaho. Mapapahiya ang gobyerno,” he said.

He said that policemen are not criminals but protectors of the people, adding that they always abide to the rule of law.

“I am not a police officer of President Rodrigo Duterte (Digong) but ng Sambayanang Pilipino. Ang police 56 years, ang president 6 years lang. Tayo mag analyze,” he said.

Although he did not do a lot for Bacolod during his stint as CDEU head, Espenido said he will not ask from the higher headquarters to allow him to stay here.

He said he is not the type of person who will choose where to be assigned. “I will just follow orders because I always consider my senior police officer,” he added.

Ginawa silang (senior officers) instrumento ng Panginoon para utusan ako. There’s a will from God,” he said.