‘Rock star’ treatment could endanger cop’s life

By: Alex P. Vidal

“I try not to be influenced by success or popularity.”—Suga

POLICE Major Jovie Espenido is just an ordinary police officer, but fans of extra-judicial killings (EJK) made him a bigger-than-life hero.

Every time Espenido’s name and his next assignment are mentioned in the press, EJK fans, including the media, burst in excitement as if they are about to see the Halley’s Comet.

Espenido himself could be surprised that he has been accorded the “rock star” treatment by those who advocate for immediate annihilation of drug dealers, so that the government will no longer waste the taxpayers’ money for the litigation of these criminals.

He earned the “berdugo” (executioner) reputation after being assigned in Ozamis City where he led the raid on the resident of the dangerous Parojinog family in 2017 that resulted in many deaths and arrest of suspected drug traffickers who were previously untouchables.




In the Philippines, those who talk tough and act with iron fists–even if some of them are dimwits–are admired and hailed as heroes.

Then they are elected in the senate.

Espenido also became a media sensation when President Duterte wanted to assign him in Iloilo City two years ago in a bid to scare former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who was believed to have flown to Canada earlier.

Duterte fanatics, especially Mabilog’s enemies, welcomed the news of Espenido’s scheduled transfer in Iloilo City; some even flooded the social media with veiled threats and mockery aimed directly at the crestfallen former city mayor.

Espenido’s transfer was called off after the intelligence reportedly intercepted reports that Espenido’s life was in danger; some members of drug syndicates and Ilonggo sympathizers of Mabilog and other personalities offended by the current administration were reportedly waiting to “waylay” the popular police officer whatever that means.

Which reminds us of Joe Pring and Timoteo Zarcal, two charismatic and sensational Manila cops killed by suspected leftist rebels one after another in 1994.

They were at the height of their popularity and, like Espenido today, they also were accorded the “rock star” treatment by their fans.




IT isn’t mandatory for people outside Metro Manila to have a knee-jerk reaction each time there are controversies and scandals involving misbehaving politicians and policemen in the Imperial Manila.

It is not also necessary that those living outside Metro Manila will “adopt” the fears and panic felt by the victims of these Metro Manila-based politicians and rogue cops.

Like when the Senate tackled the “ninja cops” controversy involving some members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Metro Manila.

Since the senate hearings were aired “live” on the Internet and broadcast media, they had chilling effects on people, who have fears for these types of law enforcers, all over the archipelago.

Many of these people, the so-called “promdi”, think the threats and activities of the “ninja cops” have stretched and are also happening in their regions.

Thus the good cops, who have nothing to do whatsoever with the bad behaviors of their counterparts in the Imperial Manila, are also being sideswiped by the negative publicity.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)