The Palace said Tuesday it will validate the report saying Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, the controversial police officer who gained notoriety in the administration’s war against drugs, was included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s narco list
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after the online news site Rappler reported that Espenido was included in the list of government officials who were allegedly involved in the drug trade.
“We will verify the veracity of the report. If that is officially received by the Office of the President, the President will investigate,” Panelo said.
Meanwhile, the adjudication process for the policemen allegedly involved in illegal drugs will begin on on Feb. 13, Philippine National Police Chief Archie Francisco Gamboa said Wednesday.
He said of the 357 policemen accused of having links to the trade in illegal drugs, 15 availed themselves of optional retirement and 43 others had gone AWOL and would no longer be adjudicated.
READ: ‘Narco-cops’ told: Retire or get fired
Espenido was the police chief in Albuera, Leyte, and Ozamiz City when two suspected narco politicians ended up dead in those towns.
Espenido was the chief of police of Albuera when the drug-linked Mayor Rolando Espinosa was shot dead inside his jail cell in 2016. A year later, as Ozamiz police chief, Espenido led the drug raids that led to the killing of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and several others.
On Feb. 5, Espenido was relieved by the Philippine National Police as Bacolod City police chief and was transferred to the Office of the Chief PNP in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
The special order was signed by Major Gen. Reynaldo Biay, PNP director for personnel and records management, and issued by Major Gen. Hawthorne Binag, acting PNP chief of the directorial staff.
On Monday, Duterte said he told new PNP Chief Archie Gamboa to remove all policemen tainted with illegal drugs.
Gamboa on Friday convened a meeting with police officers included in Duterte’s drug list, which was reportedly attended by Espenido.
READ: Robredo cleared of sedition raps
READ: ‘Narco video’ haunts Leni, Trillanes