MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte was “speaking like a father to his son” when he told Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido that he is “free to kill everybody” in Bacolod, according to the police official.
“Ganu’n talaga ang tatay magsalita, ba? ’Yun talaga ang tatay magsalita sa mga anak niya,” Espenido told radio DZMM Friday.
He added that the President’s statement also meant leaving the drug problem in Bacolod solely on the police official’s shoulders.
“[Parang] ako na ’yung bahala, sa akin na ’yung responsibility,” Espenido said.
Although he has Duterte’s blessing to stop at nothing to enforce an anti-illegal drugs campaign, the Bacolod deputy city director for police operations said he still has direct superiors to obey.
“Deputy lang po ako. May chief of police ako, may city director ako. Hindi pwede na ako magsabi, ‘Sir, ’yung decision sa akin [manggagaling],’ ” he said.
Duterte has said Bacolod is “badly hit” by the drug problem.
“Bacolod is badly hit now and I placed Espenido there, ‘yung kinatakutan nila na pulis,” Duterte said during a business conference in Manila.
Espenido is known for leading the anti-illegal drugs operation that resulted in the death of Leyte town mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and his wife in July 2017.
He was also the police chief of Albuera town, Leyte, when former mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in his jail cell after supposedly engaging policemen who served a search warrant in a firefight.
Malacañang earlier hailed Espenido for his ability to bring down drug syndicates amid the reported proliferation of narcotics in Bacolod.