MANILA - A police official earlier linked to controversial operations where drug-linked mayors were slain has been relieved from his post for still undisclosed reasons, the Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed Saturday.
Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, a former police chief of Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City, has been removed from his post as deputy chief for operations of the Bacolod City Police, the PNP said.
Confirmation of his relief came just after the PNP removed 14 police officials, with ranks from police lieutenant colonel to brigadier general, over various pending cases on Feb. 5 as part of a sweeping reshuffle by PNP Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa.
Orders from the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management showed Espenido has been recalled to the national police headquarters in Camp Crame and reassigned to the Office of the PNP Chief.
Gamboa's relief orders have placed hundreds of policemen on floating status.
Sources said among those relieved have past or pending cases, including alleged drug links and involvement in corruption.
Espenido was police chief of Albuera when the town's then mayor Rolando Espinosa, a drug suspect, was shot dead inside his jail cell in 2016 in a police operation to serve a search warrant.
When he was transferred to Ozamiz City the following year, a series of drug operations led to the death of then Mayor Reynaldo "Aldong" Parojinog and 15 others who were also linked to illegal drugs.
- report from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News