“Your next assignment is Iloilo,” President Rodrigo Duterte Duterte said after Ozamiz police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido was conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu award during the National Heroes Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
With this words and ominous warning perhaps, if you may, Duterte no doubt has serve Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog notice to shape up and clean his city of illegal drugs so he could clear his name among the mayors in Duterte’s ‘narco-list’.
It must be remembered that Duterte has called Iloilo the “most shabulized” province in the country.
For Mabilog what is important to remember also is that the latest award conferred by Duterte on Espinedo is the third that he has received this month, a confirmation of the President’s support for his accomplishments in the war on drugs.
There is no need to specify anymore what Espinedo’s accomplishments are. Suffice to say that the bemedalled police inspector’s transfer to Iloilo comes after two mayors linked to the illegal drug trade were killed in separate police operations where he was chief of police.
Who can ever forget the controversial killing of Albuera City Mayor Rolando Epinosa Sr. while in detention at the Baybay City jail on November 2016?
With Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others killed in a July 30 shootout after being served search warrants at the Parojinog’s properties for their illegal activities, who can now question that Espinedo is indeed Duterte’s lethal weapon against drug lords?
Thus, it was only proper and sensible that Mayor Mabilog welcomed the announcement of Chief Inspector Espenido’s new assignment, saying he looks forward to working “side by side” with the police official in addressing the illegal drug trade in the region.
Espinedo on his part said that Mayor Mabilog has nothing to fear and all he is asking is for the mayor to cooperate. He is even advising the latter to surrender if indeed he is what he is – a drug lord.
“He should cooperate what he is willing to cooperate so that his name would be removed from the list of narco-politicians, which is for the best. We are pro-life. Look at my record.”
Pro-life, indeed, for Espinedo is a preacher in his church Seventh Day Adventist.
But in asking Mabilog to look at Espinedo’s record, the former has to think twice as hard choosing which record is it that he has to be concerned most about – his record as a preacher or his record as a police officer.