MANILA -- Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido on Sunday told his detractors to "relax" following President Rodrigo Duterte remark that he was “free to kill everybody” in Bacolod.
Espenido, who has just been promoted to lieutenant colonel from major, assumed the post of deputy city director for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office last week.
"Hindi tayo sa field nalagay ngayon. Bakit takot ang mga tao? Nasa opisina man lang ako ngayon, taga-pirma. Relax lang muna sila," he told radio DZMM.
Espenido added that he prays before every police operation.
"Before mag-proceed ng operation, we always ask the guidance of our Lord para matulungan tayo. Very powerful naman ang prayer sa aking paniniwala," he said.
"Kaya nga inaano ko palagi na talagang may Panginoon ang pulis para walang ninja cops, walang recycle, makonsensiya ang pulis. Maski anong trabaho natin, dapat may Panginoon."
Espenido, meanwhile, thanked Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon for his concern for human life.
"Magpasalamat naman ako may mga ganung pari na concerned ba. Pero i-trust niya sa Panginoon because our life is owned by God, walang iba," he said.
"Espenido ginawa lang instrumento, siguro para sa paghuli at pagpatay, 'di naman magpunta dito ang Panginoon para siya pa ang pumatay. Ang sa akin lang, [I'm] representing for the government, for my God."
He urged Church leaders to educate and counsel Catholics about illegal drugs.
"I-encourage ko na paigtingin pa natin 'yung pag-pray sa Panginoon na matapos na ito, hindi bloody, walang hulihan. Peaceful ang Bacolod sa abot ng makakaya natin at paniniwala natin sa Panginoon," he said.
Espenido is known for leading the anti-illegal drugs operation that resulted in the death of Leyte town mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and his wife in July 2017.
He was also the police chief of Albuera town, Leyte, when former mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in his jail cell after supposedly engaging policemen who served a search warrant in a firefight.
Malacañang had hailed Espenido for his ability to bring down drug syndicates amid the reported proliferation of narcotics in Bacolod.