By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte won’t allow any harm to come to anyone including police official Jovie Espenido, Malacañang said Thursday amid reports on the threats on his life.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Espenido may also request additional protective security if he fears for his safety.
“If that is the fear of Colonel Espenido, we cannot stop him from entertaining such apprehension, but the President will not allow anyone to be hurt or harmed outside what is allowed by the law, outside of legal processes or methods sanctioned by law,” he said in a press conference at the Palace.
“If Colonel Espenido would want any protective measure from the government, then he can so request just like any other netizen,” he added.
Espenido earlier dismissed the drug allegations against him, saying his inclusion in the drug watch list was the result of failed intelligence gathering. With his name dragged into the drug menace, he reportedly claimed that the government could run after him and kill him.
Panelo, in his remarks Thursday, said Espenido continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the President.
The President has refused to believe the allegations against Espenido, insisting that the cop is clean. The Palace said Espenido may even be the victim of black propaganda by his enemies amid his aggressive campaign against the illegal drug trade.
Espenido gained popularity after two suspected narcopoliticians ended up dead during his stints as police chief in Albuera, Leyte, and Ozamiz City.
As Ozamiz police chief, he led the drug raids that led to the killing of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and several others in 2017. He was also the chief of police of Albuera when the drug-linked town mayor Rolando Espinosa was shot dead inside his jail cell in 2016.
In 2017, the President gave Espenido a special award for his outstanding performance in the anti-illegal drug operations in Eastern Visayas and Ozamiz City.