FIRST, it was Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, then Mayor Reynaldo of Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental. The two of them died when Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido became of the head of police in the respective local government units complying to the marching orders of the President’s War on Drugs. And it has come to no surprise that these mayors, if not included in the President’s List, were in a way linked with illegal drugs activities.
Espenido has marked notoriety, an instant celebrity, in the public’s perception. One or three more deaths of government officials under his command and maybe he will be immortalized in a film just like the trends then in the 80s and 90s when the late Fernando Poe Jr., Bong Revilla Sr., and Eddie Garcia used to portray real-life toughie persona (but maybe Coco Martin can portray him now).
And now Iloilo City will be his next assignment, the place where the President has least support because of his political rivals during the elections – Mar Roxas and Miriam Defensor-Santiago – and more recently, thanks to the list, its Mayor, Jed Mabilog, allegedly is linked to illegal drugs. And how conveniently, he is said to be a relative of Senator Franklin Drilon, a known oppositionist in this new administration.
If not the President clarified and reminded Espenido to follow the *legal* rules of engagement, the public speculation, especially those who are critical to the President, might conclude that he is the dark right hand of this administration’s lust for killings in the name on the War on Drugs.
Of course, Mabilog already clarified that his involvement with illegal drugs was not true. Everything was made up, and should Espenido be transferred in Iloilo City he will be welcomed there.
But until Espenido will have an official order to be transferred in Western Visayas region, we are free to speculate and hold a critical eye on the activities on the police who seem to have boosted its morale since the new administration take place. And until Espenido will give a go signal to the local police of raiding big wigs in that city, we have yet to see if he lives up to his newfound notoriety.
It’s to say the least, that the police should be commended on enacting their duty in combating illegal drugs and other crimes that ill this nation. However, the method in law enforcement should be, and should never be compromised, within the ambit of due process of the law.
Espenido could take a tour if he wants to, might as well visit Cagayan de Oro or Misamis Oriental to take a little “breather,” and see if there are local drugs syndicates left unturned that he can manage to raid and put to jail, and finally get charged to conviction.
However, beyond Espenido it is about the police in general. There, we hear stories of bad-cops, good-cops narratives. There, we still hear and even see the stories of inspiration and devastation among the ranks of the police force. Espenido can only be an instrument from a larger design of systems.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 30, 2017.