MANILA – Ozamiz City Police head, Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, is set to get a promotion and will be reassigned to the Bicol Region, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said Monday.
“May order na siya (There is an order for him). He is reassigned to Region 5, in Catanduanes. Meron siyang (He has a) pending promotion. He should be promoted, that is part of his career. Ang pwesto na pupuntahan niya (The rank that he will be getting) is Superintendent, so (from) chief inspector siya, that is part of his promotion,” Albayalde told reporters in a press briefing when asked on the status of the controversial police officer.
Espenido led operations against suspected narco-politicians such as Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
In July 2017, the Ozamiz police chief also led the anti-drug operations in the city which resulted in the death of Parojinog and 14 others.
The slain mayor’s children, Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez and Reynaldo Jr., were arrested during the raid and later charged with drug possession and illegal possession of firearms.
In a July 30, 2018 resolution, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Espenido, SPO4 Renato Martir Jr., and PO1 Sandra Nadayag for six counts of homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code based on the complaint of Carmelita Manzano.
The three policemen are being accused of killing the complainant’s husband Fancracio, her son Jerry, her daughter’s common-law spouse, Victorino Mira Jr.; her nephew Lito Manisan; her niece’s common law husband Romeo Libaton; and one Alvin Lapeña in the afternoon raid during a birthday celebration in her house.
The six were killed during a series of raids in Cabinti and Balintawak villages in Ozamis last June 1 where six other suspects were arrested.
Police recovered firearms, pieces of jewelry, and sachets of suspected shabu from the suspects during the raids.
Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed charges of murder and arbitrary detention against the three policemen for “lack of probable cause”
Espenido and company may post bail for each count of homicide following the filing of the criminal information in court.
The DOJ said the respondents’ claim that the first gunfire came from Manzano’s camp needs to be proven in court as a “justifying circumstance.”
In junking the arbitrary detention charge, the DOJ explained that an element of the crime — that the detention was without legal grounds — was lacking in the case of Mrs. Manzano, who claimed to have been taken by the policemen following the operation and detained at the Ozamiz City Police Station from June 1 to 7.
The DOJ said Manzano admitted that she was furnished a copy of an affidavit of arrest/complaint/searcher, dated June 9, for alleged violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. “Clearly, therefore, a case against her was filed; and there was indeed legal ground for [her] detention.
Another respondent, Chief Insp. Glyndo Pujanes, was cleared of charges as the DOJ noted that he had no hand in the killing of the fatalities and only arrived at the scene after the raids took place in barangays Cabinti and Balintawak.
The indictment can still be appealed.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said after a motion for reconsideration is resolved by prosecution panel, Espenido can still file a petition for review before his office. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)