Palace to validate report of Espenido's alleged inclusion in narco-list
Malacañang said on Wednesday it would validate reports that Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido is included in the so-called narco-list of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a phone patch interview, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo initially questioned the veracity of the report, which came out in Rappler.
"Well, I'm saying if it's coming from Rappler, which is known to be spreading false news , then I will have to confirm if its true or not," he said.
He said it could be impossible for Espenido to be involved in illegal drugs.
Espenido was considered as one of the President's poster boys in the campaign against narcotics.
But despite doubt on the report, Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, said, "I'm not sure if he (Espenido) is included but I'm telling is that we have to validate that."
Rappler reported that Espenido was one of the policemen present in the meeting called by Philippine National Police chief General Archie Gamboa in Camp Crame recently.
Those called in the meeting were allegedly included in the President’s drug list and were relieved from their posts and placed under Gamboa’s office.
Until last week, Espenido was deputy chief for operations and head of the drug enforcement units of the Bacolod City police office, news reports said.
Gamboa refused to comment when asked by reporters in Camp Crame if it is true Espenido is in the narco-list.
In 2017, Espenido led an anti-drug operation against Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Jr. Fifteen, including the elder Parojinog, were killed in the shootout.
In 2016, Espenido was serving a search warrant on Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa inside his jail cell. Espinosa was shot dead. Celerina Monte/DMS