Bishop hits Duterte’s ‘free to kill’ order

BACOLOD Bishop Patricio Buzon described the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte to Lt. Colonel Jovie Espenido about his assignment here in Bacolod City as insensitive and disrespectful.

"Coming from a president, such statement is irresponsible, to say the least, and utterly insensitive and disrespectful to the people of Negros. God is the author of life, and he alone has the right to take it,' Buzon said in a text message to Sunstar-Bacolod yesterday.

President Rodrigo Duterte said his order to Espenido, the newly-assigned deputy city director for operations of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) is," Go there and you are free to kill everybody."

Duterte made the statement at the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at The Manila Hotel, Wednesday.

Bacolod is badly-hit by illegal drugs that's why he placed Espenido in the city, Duterte said.

For his part, Father Cris Gonzalez of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Bacolod said he welcomes the assignment of Espenido in Bacolod City.

"We welcome and support Espenido here. The way I see it we should be thankful for the concern of the President for Bacolod City," Gonzalez said.

However he pointed out that whatever is the problem it should be resolved through peaceful means and not through violence. We should always note that primacy and dignity of life should be above all," Gonzalez added.

Despite that he is assigned in Bacolod City, Espenido was seen in Social Media to have visited San Carlos City during his arrival in Bacolod City, Friday last week which made some netizens think that he might be familiarizing some situations out of town.

Espenido gained prominence for leading operations against suspected narco-politicians like Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.

Espinosa was gunned down inside his detention cell in Baybay, Leyte in November 2016 while Parojinog was killed in a raid on his residence in Ozamiz City in July 2017.


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