Malacañang urged the public on Sunday to respect the decision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to cancel the assignment of Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City.
“This is the decision reached by the leadership of the Philippine National Police following the established policies and procedures in the transfer, reassignment and designation of their personnel,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“Everyone is enjoined to respect the order of the high command,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced Espenido’s reassignment from Ozamiz City to Iloilo City, which he tagged as the “drug bedrock of Visayas.”
Espenido earned Duterte’s praise when he, as Ozamiz City police chief, spearheaded the raids on the houses of the Parojinog clan, which led to the death of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife Susan and 13 others on July 30, 2017.
He was also the police chief of Albuera, Leyte, when Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in an alleged shootout inside the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City.
In his speech, Duterte also particularly mentioned the name of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog as one of those allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
“Ngayon, gusto mo sa Iloilo, kasi si Mabilog has been identified as a protector mayor. Mabuhay kaya siya?” Duterte said during his National Heroes’ Day speech. (“Now you want to be assigned to Iloilo since Mabilog has been identified as a protector? Would he live?”)
Despite this, Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas police director, said on Saturday Espenido would remain with the Northern Mindanao Police Regional Office.