CEBU CITY - Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, the controversial Ozamiz City police chief, on Wednesday said checks and balances in government cannot be achieved without the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
Espenido, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's key anti-drug enforcers, said the CHR is still vital in the exercise of transparency and accountability in government.
He made the statement in the wake of the House of Representatives' approval of a P1,000 budget for the commission for 2018 -- a severe cut up for deliberations at the Senate and the bicameral conference committee.
"Check[s] and balance[s] na oi, dili man pud mahimong mag-abuse kun wala ang Commission on Human Rights. Kananag mga pulis nga nakapusil, mao nay inudnud kay mao man ang atong balaud," he said.
(Checks and balances can't be achieved in the absence of the Commission on Human Rights. But only those policemen.)
He said it is impossible for the CHR to continue its operations with a P1,000 budget.
Espenido, however, clarified that the CHR, primarily mandated to investigate abuses by state agents, must also practice utmost care in tagging authorities in wrongdoing if the allegations are only based on hearsay.
He said allegations must be backed by concrete evidence so as not to taint the reputation of those who remain faithful to their service.
The CHR earlier launched an investigation against Espenido for displaying the bodies of nine crime suspects in front of the Ozamiz City Hall and for beating up a drug suspect.
President Rodrigo Duterte previously awarded Espenido for his “outstanding performance in anti-illegal drug operations that led to the eradication of illegal drug activities in Eastern Visayas and Ozamiz City.”
Espenido was chief of police in Albuera, Leyte when the town’s mayor, Rolando Espinosa Sr., was arrested on drug charges and eventually killed in a police operation while detained at the Baybay City sub-provincial jail in November 2016.
As Ozamiz City police chief meanwhile, Espenido led the bloody July raid that led to the killing of alleged narco-politician Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife and 14 others.
Espenido has denied irregularity in the raids.