By Aaron Recuenco
Former national police chief and now senator Ronald dela Rosa has vouched for the integrity of Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido amid the latter’s inclusion in the list of alleged narco-cops.
But Dela Rosa has a piece of advice for Espenido: Shut up, or continue talking but leave the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Please stop talking. You are still in the PNP organization. You observe what should be observed and talking indiscriminately is not observing proper decorum,” Dela Rosa said after the celebration of the 28th anniversary of the PNP Maritime Group on Thursday at Camp Crame.
“Otherwise, if he wants to talk and talk against the PNP, he should go out of the organization,” he added.
Espenido has been granting media interviews and holding press conferences to protest his inclusion in President Duterte’s narco-list.
The media interviews did not sit well with PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, who appeared to have been offended because there was a gag order on all 356 policemen whom he summoned to discuss their inclusion in the list.
In return, Gamboa assured all the 356 policemen that he would not publish any of their names unless they are found guilty after one month of adjudication.
Dela Rosa, however, said that Espenido is clean and may have been victimized by narco-cops who have links to those preparing the intelligence for erring policemen. “He is my man and I am vouching for his integrity. I know him to be a good police officer.”
Dela Rosa also disclosed that Espenido’s name did not come out during his stint as Chief PNP. “Otherwise, I would not have send him to Albuera (Leyte) and Ozamiz if he has dirty records.”
Espenido had been instrumental in the busting of the syndicate under suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, whose father was the mayor of Albuera. Kerwin’s father was killed by policemen inside the Baybay City provincial jail extension.
Espenido also led the operation that dismantled the alleged involvement of the Parojinog clan in Ozamiz City led by the mayor. The mayor and 14 others, including his wife, were killed in the bloody operation.
Dela Rosa said the PNP leadership should have immediately deliberated on the case of Espenido when his name cropped up.
But in this case, Dela Rosa said the intelligence reports implicating Espenido appeared to have not been verified well, or worse, doctored to pin him down.
“The PNP should find out who did that report (linking Espenido to drugs). This may have been done by syndicates or policemen with links to syndicates that he (Espenido) might have crossed paths with,” Dela Rosa said.
Espenido is not simply on the list; he is categorized under Level 3 with drug lords.