MANILA- A high-profile police official earlier tagged in the killing of drug-linked politicians could have been a “victim” of alleged failure of intelligence and black propaganda within the Philippine National Police, Malacañang said Tuesday following his inclusion in the President's drug watch list.
Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido might have been a target in the intelligence gathering for the drug watch list, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said, noting that it is not “unexpected” that there might be errors in the process.
“[Espenido] could be [a victim], because the President says that’s black propaganda as far as he’s concerned. Biktima siya (He’s a victim),” Panelo told reporters.
“[The failure of intelligence] could be true, because the President trusts him. It’s not unexpected that there may be some flaws in intelligence gathering. That happens,” he added.
Malacañang stood by Espenido after the police official was revealed to be among those on Duterte’s narco-list, in a surprising discovery after the police force reopened its investigation on persons on the roster.
“[The President] believes that the reports of his alleged involvement in prohibited drugs are untrue,” Panelo said last Friday.
Espenido expressed dismay at the PNP leadership following his inclusion in the drug watch list, claiming that his addition wasn’t validated.
“Sabi ko nga, 'yung failure of intelligence, 'yung nagkuha lang siya ng information na hindi vinalidate. ‘Yun ang failure ng intelligence,” the police official said.
(Like what I said, it’s failure of intelligence. They just gathered information without validating it.)
While it happens, Panelo said errors in intelligence gathering could easily be corrected.
“Sometimes they’re even intentional, you are being fed with the wrong info coming from those who are against a particular officer and if it gets into the system, lalabas ‘yun (that will come out),” he said.
Despite the supposed error, the Palace official insisted that the government’s drug watch list is credible.
“After all, trabaho rin nila ‘yung mag-gather ng intelligence; but siyempre may nakakalusot din na mali,” he said.
(It’s their job to gather intelligence reports but sometimes there are errors.)
The Duterte administration has released several drug watch lists as part of its war on drugs.