MANILA (3rd UPDATE)- A police official tagged in the killing of drug-linked politicians was revealed to be among those on President Rodrigo Duterte's "narco-list" in a surprising discovery after the institution reopened its investigation on persons on the roster.
Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, recently relieved as deputy chief for operations of the Bacolod City Police, is among some 300 police officials and personnel accused of crimes such as coddling alleged drug lords and pushers, extortion, or illegal gambling.
Two generals are also on the list, police said.
Sought for comment, Espenido declined, telling ABS-CBN News to just go directly to the PNP chief and that he would only talk if the latter confirms.
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said the police Internal Affairs Service will be given a month to come up with recommendations on a course of action over the allegations.
A former police chief of Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City, Espenido was earlier removed from his post in Bacolod for undisclosed reasons.
Confirmation of his relief came after the Philippine National Police 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 was recalled to the national police headquarters in Camp Crame and reassigned to the Office of the PNP Chief.
Espenido is known for leading the anti-illegal drugs operation that resulted in the death of Ozamiz mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and his wife in July 2017.
He was also the police chief of Albuera when former mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in his jail cell after supposedly engaging policemen who served a search warrant in a firefight.
Duterte will look into Espenido's inclusion in the narco-list, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“If that (report) is officially received by the Office of the President, the President will investigate,” he said.
Malacañang had hailed Espenido for his ability to bring down drug syndicates amid the reported proliferation of narcotics in Bacolod.--with reports from Raffy Santos and Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News