BACOLOD CITY – Speculations are now flying here after the police top brass relieved controversial drug czar Jovie Espenido only four months after President Duterte sent him here with the order to “start killing them.”
Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran confirmed Espenido’s relief but did not give additional details.
“Yes,” Familiaran said when asked by DNX if Espenido was relieved.
Local PNP chief Col. Henry Binas, meanwhile, said he could not comment on the news as he has not received any order yet from Camp Crame.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia did not answer calls from DNX while Espenido has yet to answer questions sent by SMS.
Calls to his mobile phone were also unanswered.
Espenido, who was assigned as deputy city director for operations here, was credited for taking down the Ozamiz crime group of the Parohinog family in Ozamiz City. He was also the chief of police in Albuera town, Leyte when Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed inside a jail cell.
“He is President Duterte’s pick, why was he relieved so soon?” a political observer here asked.
During his stint here, two personalities were killed, both linked to illegal drug operations.
One was Ontao Sacar, a Muslim trader who was abducted evening of 2 December 2019 and found dead the next day.
Twelve days later, two armed men on a motorcycle shot at the car of businessman Robert Tan.
He was killed instantly.
Another observer said the relief could be linked to the upsurge in the anti-drug campaign by the local police.
She did not elaborate.