In a speech during the National Heroes Day commemoration, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Chief Inspector Jovie Espendo to be deployed to IloIlo City– referred as the most shabulized province in the Philippines according to the President.
Espenido once tasked to chase after mayors with alleged links to illegal drugs. He is currently the police chief in Ozamiz City, during which he led efforts to chase after Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog. Late in July, during a police operation of which Espenido was among the commanders, the mayor, his wife, and thirteen were killed.
Also, prior to the Parojinogs case, Espenido was the police chief in Albuera, Leyte, which was once headed by another late Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr with supposed links to illegal drugs.
“I will ask you again. You ask for the assignment sa Leyte, namatay ang mayor doon (the mayor in Leyte died). You ask for another assignment sa Ozamiz, namatay ang mayor doon, si Parojinog (the mayor there also died, Parojinog). Ngayon, gusto mo sa Iloilo, kasi si Mabilog has been identified as a protector – mayor. Mabuhay kaya siya? (Now you want to be assigned to Iloilo because Mabilog has been identified as a protector – mayor. Will he live?)” Duterte said, referring to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog.
Early on his Presidency, Duterte tagged Iloilo as the “most shabulized” province in the country, referring to the magnitude and extent of shabu use in the area.
On August 02, 2017, Mayor Mabilog said the shabu problem in Ilo-Ilo was not as bad compared to a year ago. He then, welcomed Espenido’s assignment to his City, saying the controversial cop can provide additional pointers on how they can eradicate illegal drugs in the City.
“Yung latest announcement niya (President Rodrigo Duterte) po and ‘yung order niya to assign Chief Inspector Espenido to the City of Iloilo will be a welcome development for us, for Iloilo and me, kasi po at least this will give us a venue for us to be able to show kung ano na po ang mga interventions at mga programs na ginagawa ng Iloilo against illegal drugs,” Mabilog said.
His (President Rodrigo Duterte) latest announcement and his order to assign Chief Inspector Espenido to the City of Iloilo will be a welcome development for us, for Iloilo and me, because at least this will give us a venue for us to be able to show if what are those interventions and programs that IloIlo City id doing against illegal drugs.
Malibog also denied getting involved in the Illegal drug trade. According to him, he has done everything he can to follow Duterte’s order to eliminate illegal drugs. He even apologized to duterte, if his efforts had not been good enough.
Meanwhile, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Mabilog should have nothing to fear if he’s clean.
Senator Panfilo Lacson also believed that Espenido knows what to do.
However, Espenido’s new assignment has given Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon a cause of concern. He then, expressed hope that Espenido would pay attention to Duterte’s order to follow the rules of engagement in confronting the drug problem in Iloilo City.
Espenido led several operations against Mayors who were allegedly linked to illegal drugs. He was also given a special award during the PNP’s Service Anniversary for his good work. Earlier, the President decided to assign Espenido to IloiLo City after the police official said he wants to go after the City’s mayor.