Palace is not influencing PNP adjudication of cops in drug list
Malacanang on Monday said they are not influencing the ongoing adjudication process of the Philippine National Police (PNP) when they released the statement that President Rodrigo Duterte believed Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido is “clean” from illegal drug activities.
“Obviously it’s not influencing… (Interior) Secretary Eduardo Año says (they) will still investigate which is correct position,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.
Panelo reiterated that Duterte believes the inclusion of Espenido on his drug list was a “black propaganda”.
“You must remember, the president has unlimited resources with respect to this (drug list) so maybe he validated and found out that it is not true,” Panelo said in a press briefing.
“Moreover, I remember in one Senate hearing, he was also linked by previous cops (in illegal drugs) but it was not proven… in short, the president doesn’t believe (in those accusations), for him its black propaganda,” he added.
Asked for basis, Panelo said Duterte conducts his own investigation.
“He is always like that… his position is on the basis of circumstances or information given to him but if those circumstances change then necessarily he will have to change his position,” he said.
“Any statement that will run counter or subsequent evidence or proof that will contradict the previous position on the matter will have to be changed,” he said.
Panelo said the drug list is being validated on a regular basis.
“The list way back 2017, I was informed that 120 (personalities) from the list were removed after evaluation of the adjudicatory board… not everyone who was originally listed will remain there forever because they are being validated… 120 from the original list were removed, maybe Colonel Espenido was included,” he said.
Despite confusion on the administration’s drug list, Panelo said the list the president has is still “credible”.
“The presumption is that is credible unless you introduce proof that is wrong… that is his (Duterte) intelligence information (that Espenido is clean) but if you were able to show him credible proof then his position will change,” he said.
Last Friday, Panelo released a statement quoting Duterte following reports that Espenido was included in the list of 357 cops who were allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, whose office has supervision over the Philippine National Police, earlier confirmed that Espenido, one of Duterte's poster boys in the war against illegal drugs, was indeed in the list of so-called narco-cops.
But he said that the allegation against Espenido would still undergo validation.
He said Espenido continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the President. Ella Dionisio/DMS