President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he sent Jovie Espenido, the police officer who gained notoriety for leading deadly operations against drug-linked politicians, to Bacolod City so he can “kill everybody.”
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In a speech before businessmen, Duterte said he told Espenido to “go there and you are free to kill everybody.”
He said he assigned the policeman, who got a one-rank promotion from Major to Lieutenant Colonel, to Bacolod because it is “badly hit” by illegal drugs.
“Bacolod is badly hit now. And I placed Espenido there, ‘yung kinatakutan nila na pulis. Sabi ko, ‘Go there and you are free to kill everybody.’ T— ina. Start killing them.’ Dalawa na tayo magpapreso,” Duterte said.
The controversial Espenido was the chief of police of Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City where the two mayors, Rolando Espinosa, Sr. and Reynaldo Parojinog were killed in police operations in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Duterte awarded Espenido in 2017 for his contributions to the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Espenido was transferred to Catanduanes in Bicol in October 2018 only to return to Ozamiz the following month as residents supposedly feared the remaining members of the drug-linked Parojinog group.
President Duterte also warned policemen and other people involved in illegal drugs that he can be “more evil” than they are.
“Kayong mga ninja [cops,] kayong mga holdaper, kayong mga drug pusher, akala niyo kayo lang ang matigas?” Duterte said Thursday night to an audience of businessmen. “That’s a very stupid paradigm because I can be evil like you — and more than if I want to be.”
In January, Duterte sacked Bacolod’s police chief and four other police officers over their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.