Marching orders

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    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has transferred Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido from chief of police of Ozamiz City to Bacolod City police office, where the controversial police official will take on the job as deputy director of operations.

    The President verbalized his marching orders to Espenido during his speech at the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo, admitting that he told his favorite police officer that when “you go there (Bacolod), you are free to kill everybody.”

    “Bacolod is badly hit (by illegal drugs) now. I placed Espenido there. Start killing there. Dalawa na lang tayo papreso. (Both of us can go to jail),” the President said.

    It could be recalled that Espenido was chief of police of Albuera, Leyte in 2016 when Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed inside his detention cell by policemen.

    In 2017, Espenido was transferred to Ozamiz City and soon after, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others linked to the drug trade were killed in various raids.

    Espenido’s tour of duty and CV entries — it should be clear by now — reflect in no uncertain terms the principal tactics being implemented in the government’s war on drugs. The killings have become official policy, at least against big and powerful people the Duterte camp had identified as leaders of the drug trade.

    The President means it when he said he will kill the drug syndicate leaders should they persist in destroying the lives of Filipinos, especially the youth. And Duterte has the likes of Espenido in his pocket to do the dirty work.

    Espenido, who holds a public reading of the Holy Bible in his police office two times a day, had been advised by Catholic bishops not to follow blindly the President’s marching orders.

    Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon said the Chief Executive’s statement was “irresponsible.” He stressed: “Coming from a President, such statement is irresponsible to say the least and utterly disrespectful of the people of Negros. God is the author of life, and he alone has the right to take it.”

    Supporting the priest, Bayan Negros said Duterte “gave license to the police to kill. It proves that the extrajudicial killings are state-sponsored.”

    Duterte knows what he is doing and assured everyone that he is ready to face charges when he steps down as President. Meanwhile, it’s all up to Jovie Espenido.