“HE IS welcome. It is meant to intensify, to expand and maybe to hasten the campaign against illegal drugs in Bacolod City.”
This was stressed by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Monday, October 14, after Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier confirmed that the reassignment of Police Major Jovie Espenido to Bacolod City was President Rodrigo Duterte’s response to complaints of illegal drugs proliferating in the city.
Leonardia said he also talked with Panelo on Sunday, October 13, and he was informed that Duterte was aware of the assignment of Espenido to Bacolod City.
“I was told by my sources that the motivation of the President is to help Bacolod. I believe that Bacolod is very close to the heart of the President. And that is why there is that special attention to Bacolod and as much as this is the expertise of Espenido,” he said.
He added that the presence of the police office in the city is to focus on accelerating the campaign against the illegal drugs.
Leonardia stressed that the reassignment of Espenido will not affect the post of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) director Police Colonel Henry Binas.
He said he already accepted Binas as the regular BCPO director and he’s also doing well.
He added that Bacolod is also improving because there were already several barangays that were declared as “drug-free”, and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) is also set to release another P5 million for the city’s drug rehabilitation center.
In 2018, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chose Bacolod City as one of the pilot sites of the Balay Silangan Reformation Program in the country.
“I’m trying to believe that considering the actions of the President, the Philippine National Police (PNP), DDB, and the PDEA, maybe they must have something special for Bacolod, gearing towards making us some kind of pilot or model city,” Leonardia said.
Congressman Greg Gasataya, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, and members of the City Council also earlier said that they welcome the reassignment of Espenido to Bacolod City.
They said that the reassignment of Espenido in the city is a big help to address the illegal drugs problem in Bacolod.
Espenido, the controversial police official linked to the killings of alleged narco-politicians, is expected to report to the Police Regional Office-Western Visayas next week.
In 2016, Espenido was the chief of police in Albuera, Leyte, when the town’s then mayor, Rolando Espinosa, who was tagged as drug suspect, was shot to death inside a jail in Baybay City.
The following year, Espenido was reassigned to Ozamiz City where then Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who was also linked to illegal drugs, was also killed in a police operation.