WATCH | Bato explains why he’s reluctant to make Espenido police chief of Iloilo

August 30, 2017 - 5:32 PM
File photos of Chief Police Inspector Jovie Espenido (from Senate) and PNP chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa (from Philstar)

MANILA, Philippines – If Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa would have his way, he would not yet transfer Jovie Espenido to Iloilo because of two reasons — Ozamiz still needs the chief police inspector and his rank is twice lower than that of a city police chief.

“Right now, nagkakaroon kami (ng) alinlangan dahil the people of Ozamiz (are) airing their protest against that order. Tao sa Ozamiz mag-people power, ayaw tanggalin si Espenido, may unfinished business doon,” Dela Rosa said during a press conference Wednesday morning.

[Right now we’re having doubts because the people of Ozamiz are airing their protest against that order. Ozamiz residents will mount people power, they don’t want Espenido to be removed, there’s an unfinished business there.]

Espenido was the police chief of Albuera town in Leyte when suspected drug lord Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed by authorities on November 5, 2016 inside his detention cell.

In December 2016, Espenido was transferred to Ozamiz and seven months later, on July 30 this year, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, and 15 others were killed by police in a predawn drug raid.

Last Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte approved Espenido’s request to be transferred to Iloilo, which the chief executive described last year as the most “shabulized” (drug-infested) area in the Philippines.

READ RELATED STORY: ‘WILL MAYOR SURVIVE?’ | Duterte OKs Espenido’s reassignment to ‘most shabulized’ Iloilo City

Besides Espenido’s need to still work on ensuring the safety of Ozamiz residents, Dela Rosa said the police officer’s current rank of chief inspector is two steps lower than the required rank of a senior superintendent to become Iloilo City’s police chief.

Nevertheless, the PNP chief said that “in every rule, there is an exception.”

P’wede nating i-exempt for that purpose only…may pamamaraan diyan. ‘Di siya full-time seating city director kundi OIC [We can exempt him for that purpose only…there’s a way for that. He will not be a full-time sitting director but an officer-in-charge],” said Dela Rosa.

Though Dela Rosa said that he had already issued the order assigning Espenido to Iloilo, following Duterte’s announcement of his transfer, the PNP chief said he would still try to convince the Palace to make Espenido stay in Ozamiz.

“I’m going to Malacañang right after this conference and i will shoot this issue…Ipaparating ko (ang) concern. We will let you know,” he told reporters.