Espenido's assignment to Iloilo City canceled – regional police director

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Story updated to include statements of Western Visayas Police Regional Office director Cesar Binag.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido will not lead the Iloilo City police.

Espenido's appointment as officer-in-charge of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) has been canceled, Chief Superintendent Cesar Binag, director of the Police Regional Office in Western Visayas, said on Saturday.

He said Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas, acting OIC of Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office, will assume the post.

"May natanggap kasi kaming document from the national headquarters informing us that number one, the designation of the new city director or acting city director of Iloilo City is Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas," Binag told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: We received a document from the national headquarters informing us that Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas will be the new acting city director of Iloilo City.]

It is unclear why Espenido's transfer from Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental to Iloilo City did not push through, but Biñas said the PRO-6 respects the decision from the national headquarters.

"We welcome yung assignment. Malaki maitutulong niya sa amin [We welcome his assignment. He will be of great help]," Binag said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he would assign Espenido to Iloilo City.

Read: Duterte to assign controversial police chief to Iloilo

Duterte has called Iloilo the "most shabulized" province in the country, with Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog named on his "narco-list."

Read: Duterte warns Iloilo City mayor included in narco-list

Following Duterte's pronouncement, Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, PRO-6 spokesperson, said Espenido is not qualified to become police director of either Iloilo City or the province, since he does not have the rank of senior superintendent.

Read: PRO-6: Espenido not qualified for police director post

This is a requirement for the position of city police chief of a highly urbanized area like Iloilo City, based on Philippine National Police (PNP) rules.

Espenido is the controversial chief of police assigned to Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City where the two mayors, Rolando Espinosa, Sr. of Albuera and Reynaldo Parojinog were killed in a separate police operations.

Read: Ozamiz City Mayor, 14 others killed in police raids

The bemedaled police chief has said he is pro-life, and does not support extrajudicial killings.

Read: Espenido: I'm not into EJK, I'm pro-life

PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa earlier said if he had his way, he would let Espenido stay in Ozamiz City while he is still fixing the drug problem in the area.

He added there is a clamor among residents of Ozamiz City to keep Espenido as their police chief.