"Your next assignment is Iloilo," Duterte told Espenido in a speech during the celebration of National Heroes Day.
The President said he decided to assign Espenido to Iloilo City after the police official said he wants to go after the city’s mayor, Jed Mabilog.
"You asked for the assignment sa Leyte, namatay ang mayor doon. You asked for another assignment sa Ozamiz, namatay ang mayor doon - si Parojinog. Ngayon gusto mo sa Iloilo kasi nga si Mabilog has been identified as a protector," Duterte said.
“Mabuhi kaya siya? (Will he remain alive?) Gusto ko nang tanungin kasi ako naman ang pagbibintangan. Ikaw ang nagbaril diyan tapos ako ang mapa-publish kung saan-saan.”
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The President has said that Iloilo province is a bedrock of illegal drug trading in the Visayas region, an allegation denied by the province’s mayors, including Mabilog.
Iloilo mayors deny Duterte drug claims
In a chance interview, the President said he agreed to assign Espenido to Iloilo City because of the latter’s dedication to his work.
“He knows his law so he should replicate his exploits in other parts of the country. He wants to be assigned in Iloilo, I will assign him there,” Duterte told reporters.
Espenido became controversial after the local chief executives in the areas where he was assigned were killed in police raids, the conduct of which were being questioned by human rights groups.
Espenido was the chief of Albuera Police when the town’s mayor, Rolando Espinosa Sr.,
was arrested on drug charges and eventually killed during a police operation in his detention cell at Baybay City, Leyte in November 2016.