MANILA, Philippines — Duterte said he ordered Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido to “go there and you are free to kill everybody” in the city that he claimed was “badly hit” by drugs.
Duterte’s order was made during a business conference last Thursday, 17 October 2019.
In a statement, Karapatan Vice Chairperson Reylan Vergara said Espenido’s reassignment to Negros “will worsen the already unrelenting human rights violations in the region.”
Duterte vowed in 2017 that he will protect Espenido amid the controversies that hounded the police official at the time.
Duterte also awarded Espenido with the Order of Lapu-Lapu and commended his performance in anti-illegal drugs operations.
“Espenido, like Duterte, does not care for human rights or due process, except when it is in the context of escaping accountability,” Vergara said.
Espenido became controversial in 2016 when he was the Albuera, Leyte chief of police when Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed during a bloody police operation.
After Espenido was transferred to Ozamiz City in 2017, then-Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 15 others were killed during drug operations.
Vergara said the president has enabled “a bloodthirsty police force who continues to commit atrocities with impunity.”
“They are rewarded with salary increases despite corruption scandals and recent revelations,” Vergara also said.
“Nothing has changed: the Philippine National Police remains as a band of ruthless criminals in uniform. This government is the foremost organized syndicate in this country and its state forces who do the dirty work are coddled by the President,” he said.
Karapatan underscored that Espenido’s record has been tarnished by the killings that have happened under his watch.
“Espenido basks in being a butcher. He takes pride in killing because he is enabled by our corrupt and militarist system. He speaks with no indication of service to the people, only of war and killings,” Vergara said. (STACY ANG/IAMIGO/CNS)