PNP chief feels 'insulted', keeps mum about narco cops

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Archie Gamboa has continued to keep his mouth shut on the alleged involvement of Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido in the illegal drugs trade.

In an interview on Thursday morning, Gamboa said he felt insulted by news articles identifying Espenido among the 357 policemen who are undergoing adjudication over allegations linking them to the illegal drugs operations.

“Ang sinabi ko naman sa inyo respect our [request]. It was, ano, nakiusap naman ako, di ba? Nakiusap ako na huwag na sana nating tingnan ‘yung mga personalities, and you know the intention,” he said.

(Didn't I make a request? I requested that we don't look at the personalities and you know the intention.)

“I feel insulted with that. ‘Yun ang sinasabi ko, I will not answer (your question anymore),” he added.

Gamboa earlier said he does not want to reveal the names of the 357 policemen who are on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drugs watchlist to protect them from being judged by the public pending the results of the adjudication.

On Wednesday, two high-ranking police officials who asked not to be named confirmed that Espenido is among the 357 policemen.

Espenido, who earlier received commendation from the President for his bloody anti-illegal drugs campaign, has been relieved from his post in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and reassigned to the office of the PNP chief.

Espenido was the police chief of Albuera town in Leyte when its mayor, Rolando Espinosa, was shot dead inside his detention cell in Baybay City, also in Leyte, in November 2016.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) agents claimed that Espinosa resisted when they served a search warrant for illegal firearms in his detention cell.

From Leyte, Espenido was assigned to Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental. Ozamiz police raided the properties of the city mayor, Reynaldo Parojinog, in July 2017. The mayor, his wife and 13 others were killed.

Both Espinosa and Parojinog were tagged as narco-politicians and were on Duterte's watchlist.

Meantime, Gamboa said 15 of the 357 policemen have opted for early retirement while 43 have been marked Absence Without Official Leave (Awol). (SunStar Philippines)