OZAMIZ CITY—Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, who has become controversial for his key role in bloody operations in the government’s war on drugs, is facing six counts of homicide in a court here.
The case stemmed from a police raid back on June 1, 2017 at the village of Cavinte against the crime group Martilyo Gang. Police had given named the gang martilyo, Filipino for hammer, because of its modus operandi of breaking into pawn or jewelry shops and smashing their glass counters with hammers.
Espenido was then acting chief of the city police.
Nine suspects were killed in the raid and their bodies were laid under the sun near the police station, to be claimed by relatives.
Six other suspects were arrested and yielded guns and drugs.
In 2018, a relative of six of the slain suspects filed the homicide case against Espenido and Executive MSgt. Renato Martir and Cpl. Sandra Nadayag.
On Tuesday (March 30), Espenido turned himself in to Maj. Peter Ryan Revillas, acting city police chief, after receiving a copy of the warrant for his arrest issued by Judge Mary Faith R. Potoy-Montederamos of Regional Trial Court Branch 35.
He and the two other officers were able to post bail of P240,000 each—P40,000 per count of homicide.
Espenido said the bail money did not come from their pockets but was contributed bby private persons.
Espenido also led the operation that killed Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, suspected leader of a crime and drug syndicate, and 14 others on July 30, 2017 which earned a “special award” for Espenido from the Philippine National Police.
The controversial police officer’s name had turned up on President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called narco list but was shortly cleared by Duterte himself.
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