CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The police chief of Albuera town in Leyte when Mayor Rolando Espinosa was shot dead inside prison is in hot water because of a viral video that allegedly showed him hitting a drug suspect.
The video clip shows Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, who is now the police director of Ozamiz City, repeatedly slapping a male individual inside a precinct last March. The video came out on social media a few days ago.
Senior Supt. Lemuel Gonda, police regional office spokesperson, said they would conduct an investigation into the matter.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption earlier called on the Philippine National Police to look into the incident.
Last week, Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog also complained that the city police chief and some of his men went to her house late night on May 4.
Parojinog said the policemen were heavily armed and had surrounded her residence in Barangay San Roque, also known as “Lawis,” a few meters away from where his father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., lives.
The vice mayor said her brother had called her up and told her Espenido and his men were outside her house.
It was a good thing, she said, that her residence was installed with CCTV cameras that captured the incident.
“I was really disturbed,” the younger Parojinog told reporters in an interview, adding that she found no reason why policemen would surround her home. “Unsa may akong sala (What’s my violation)? Why were they acting that way?”
She then called up her uncle, Octavio Parojinog, and asked him to talk to Espenido. Moments later, the police pulled out.
She said she also heard that Espenido allegedly threatened to burn the whole Lawis if they cannot catch the suspected drug dealers in the area, and even advised the Parojinogs to move elsewhere so they will be spared.
“Why would we leave this place? We’ve been here even before he set foot in Ozamiz. Besides, there are more law-abiding people living here than those who are engaged in illegal drugs,” she said.
She said she was considering filing a formal complaint against Espenido and his fellow police officers, who were there on the night of May 4.
Gonda said authorities would investigate the allegations against Espenido. He advised the accusers to file a formal complaint to the PNP-10 regional office at Camp Alagar in Barangay Lapasan.
As of this writing Monday, Espenido could not be reached for comment, but in previous interviews with journalists in Ozamiz, Espenido denied the allegations against him.
Before his assignment in Ozamis City last December, Espenido was police chief of Albuera, Leyte, the hometown of suspected big time drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa whose father, town mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., was killed inside a prison facility in that province last year.
During a Senate hearing last November, Kerwin claimed that it was Espenido who had introduced him to Ronnie Dayan, the bodyguard-driver of Sen. Leila de Lima, whom Kerwin accused of accepting bribe money from him for the lawmaker. De Lima and Dayan are currently detained on drug-related charges.