Espenido tells Iloilo mayor: Why be afraid?

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2017 09:49 AM | Updated as of Aug 29 2017 10:07 AM

FILE PHOTO: Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido gestures as he attends the Senate hearing on extra judicial killing, December 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Iloilo Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog should have no fear for his and his family’s safety if he is not involved in any illicit activity, the city's would-be top cop, Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, said Tuesday. 

"Alam naman ng Panginoon kung malinis sila o hindi...Wag silang matakot. Kung totoo na gumawa sila ng mabuti, bakit matakot sila," Espenido told DZMM. 

"The truth will set them free. Biblical man iyan. Ang matakot naman ang masama kasi nasa Proverbs 28 iyan; the wicked will run without [anyone] chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion." 

(God knows if they are clean or not. If they did good, why would they be afraid? The truth will set them free, that's biblical. Proverbs 28 says, the wicked will run without anyone chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion.) 

President Rodrigo Duterte last year tagged Mabilog as an alleged narco-politician, along with Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. 

Espenido was chief of police in Albuera when officers conducted a pre-dawn raid that killed Espinosa inside his jail cell in November 2016. 

Espenido was then deployed as Ozamiz police chief in December. In the interview, Espenido said he talked to the Parojinogs about the alleged drug trade in Ozamiz but that the political clan denied any links to narcotics. 

He said the arrests of 100-200 pushers in the area belied the Parojinogs' claim that they have no links to the illegal drug trade. 

Last month, Parojinog and several others were killed in a police operation. 

Duterte confirmed Monday that he is sending Espenido to Iloilo, which the chief executive once dubbed as the country's "most shabulized" city. 

Mabilog has said he will cooperate with Espenido, but also admitted that he is praying to God for his safety. 

Espenido, for his part, said Mabilog's fate rests on God's will and his cooperation with the police. 

"Masabi ba natin na iyung buhay ni mayor, mabuhay o hindi, sa akin naman, God's will. Kung may pagkataon na magbago siya at tumulong, why not? Pero kung lalaban talaga siya sa government, why not pa rin na hindi natin lalabanan?" he said. 

(Whether the mayor will live or die depends on God's will. If he changes and helps, why not? But if he fights the government, why would we not retaliate?)