By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido said on Wednesday that he may be a big threat to politicians, that’s why his name was included in the recent narco-list that also implicated 356 other police officers in the illegal drug trade.
Espenido held a press briefing at Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) yesterday when he dropped by to get his personal belongings before heading to Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 in Iloilo City.
He was relieved from BCPO as deputy city director for operations and head of City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) on Feb 5 and was ordered to be transferred to Camp Crame under the office of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Archie Francisco Gamboa.
But in the meantime, he will be detailed to PRO-Western Visayas for the adjudication process.
Espenido said he cannot identify who’s after him but he suspects that politicians may be behind the accusations against him on illegal drugs.
Espenido, who has been tagged as the poster boy of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, believed that he was included in the list because he had previously linked some government officials and law enforcers to the narcotics trade.
He refused to answer if the inclusion of his name in the narco-list might be related to his assignment in Bacolod, considering that the list came out after his assignment here.
“Hindi ako makapagsabi. Ang Panginoon lang talaga ang may alam. Kasi nakasanayan ko na hindi ko puwede unahan ang totoo. Pero kung sa totoo lang, ba’t ko naman idedeny kung totoo iyon? Ba’t ko itatago,” he said.
Espenido said that his name was first tagged in the narco-list in 2016 because of his record in the drug war even before President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.
He said he was cleared the following year until his name was again recently tagged in which he believed to be the same drugs list.
He recalled that there was already a resolution in 2017 endorsed by his superior at that time to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the PNP to exclude him from the 2016 narco-list.
He asked why this was brought up again. “Bakit ngayon pinag-uusapan? Nandoon na ang resolution nung 2017, Masabi ba natin na hindi nakarating? Hindi tiningnan? Kawawa naman iyong mga nag meeting noon,” he said.
“This is one thing I can tell you, mga tao hindi naman siguro dahil sa inggit, kasi hindi naman ako pogi. Greedy, a greedy kind of person, number one politicians talaga. Mga nabangga natin sa trabaho since Police Officer 1 pa ako. That kind of person maybe ran after me. Sorry, I am not judgmental because I am not God. Pero iyon lang siguro ang paniniwala ko,” he said.
He, however, refused to say if these persons are from the local or national level or if they were also involved in illegal drugs.
“Depende sa natamaan. I am a human being. God knows everything. Maybe involved sila (politicians) sa drugs, maybe hindi din,” he said.
“Tao lang sila. It can hurt yung mga salita. Siguro kung hindi guilty dapat tigilan na ang pag accuse sa akin. If you’re not guilty for what I have done, sa war against drugs, kung hindi kayo kasali, why are you running after me? Why do you accuse me? Pakita lang na guilty kayo because you make character assassination to me. If hindi kayo guilty, relax pero sa nangyayari nagpapakita sa actuation niyo kasi na guilty kayo. Big threat ako,” he added.
He said that it is not easy to link anyone into illegal drugs.
“Pakiramdaman din naman. Be wise tayo. Hindi mag decision agad-agad. Ako, I always rely on God,” he added.
“Huwag sana kayo magalit Sir, pangalan ko na nakataya dito, sana intindihin niyo rin ako. Hindi lang muna nag tanong ba’t ako nandiyan sa list? Kayo sa PNP, hindi niyo alam sino si Espenido? Grabe naman kayo,” he said.
Espenido apologized to Gen. Gamboa for coming out in the middle of the controversy on narcotics, but he claimed that he appreciated the PNP chief’s effort of giving him and others chance to clear their side for one month to also give them peace of mind.
He said he was already subjected to lifestyle check and he is open to it because he is not hiding anything. He even urged authorities to check his house to know his simple way of living.
Speaking of consequences, he said tagging him in the drugs list has effect on some policemen who are doing good in the service.
“This is not a reason to stop the fight against illegal drugs even if you’re all alone, even if hindi ka kilala ng general or sino man, it doesn’t matter. Importante you do your best as mandated by law, and God will do the rest. It can sometimes maybe affect police officers ba na nagtatrabaho talaga ng totoo. It can be a frustration or ma-discourage sila kasi ganito pala si Espenido. I would like to encourage you all, ilan lang tao sa hanay ng police (marami-rami siguro) pero majority pa rin ang mabait,” he said.
He said that “whether we do good or bad there is a consequence even done in secret, as he quoted a bible verse.
“Wala akong kinatatakutan. Bakit ako matatakot? Utang ko life ko sa Panginoon. Hindi ako matakot kasi ang buhay ko hindi sa akin. You are free to kill me anytime kasi hindi ko hawak buhay ko. Managot kayo sa Panginoon ko. Trabaho tayo with God. I do believe I am never alone. I have my God na magbigay sa akin ng courage para matuloy ko ang trabaho ko na makatulong ako kay President Duterte,” he said.