PNP Chief relieves Negros Oriental top cops over farmers’ killing

Robie de Guzman   •   April 2, 2019   •   2270

Remains of two of the 14 farmers who were killed in a police operation on March 30, 2019 in Negros Oriental

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Oscar Albayalde has ordered the relief of Negros Oriental’s top policeman as well as police chiefs of three towns over the death of 14 local farmers during a string of operations.

The incident occurred at dawn last Saturday after authorities served arrest warrants to suspected criminals who allegedly fought back.

Ordered to be relieved from their posts were Negros Oriental police chief Col. Raul Taraca, Canlaon City police chief Lt. Col. Patricio Degay, Manjuyod police chief Lt. Kevin Mamaradlo and Sta. Catalina police chief Capt. Michael Rubia.

The relief order was issued to give way to the investigation in connection with the bloody operation.

“Yes, we are expecting it. We are open for further investigation, however, we have also directed our Regional IAS (Internal Affairs Service) to conduct their own investigation for that incident,” said Police Regional Office 7 Regional Director BGen. Debold Sinas.

Makabayan Solons and Human rights advocate earlier tagged the incident as a massacre. They also called for an investigation into the incident, noting that claims of resisting arrest “need to be tried before courts to ensure that there are no lapses and ascertain if the circumstances really warrant the offense from the police.”

Malacañang on Monday insisted that the operation conducted by police against loose firearm and suspected hitmen and supporters of the New People’s Army was legitimate.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, believes police should be given the chance to prove the claim that the police operation was indeed legal.

“Huwag tayong madala doon sa mga propaganda because you may have noticed ‘yung mga maiingay ’yung mga tinatawag nating front organizations,” he said. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Ryan Mallari)

Next PNP Chief: DILG’s Año to recommend 5 names to Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte his shortlist of candidates to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an exclusive interview with UNTV News, Año said his list would consist of five names – three of them are three-star generals and are members of the PNP command group. The remaining two would be two-star and one-star generals but he has yet to pick the names of those he will recommend to the president.

“Sa ngayon, pare-parehas sila eh. Pero for sure, yung mga 3-star [generals] kasama yan sa ire-recommend ko. Pag-aaralan ko pa yung mga 2-star at 1-star na pwede isama sa listahan but I will submit five names,” he said.

Año said he will submit the list at least a week before the mandatory retirement of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa.

Gamboa will bow out of the police service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 3.

“Normally, mga two weeks to one week before magsusubmit na ulit ako ng pangalan sa Pangulong Duterte kung sino mga ire-recommend ko, pero ibig sabihin naman nun, ang Pangulong Duterte pwedeng pumili anybody from one-star to three-star,” the DILG chief said.

Whoever will be chosen from the five would inherit a PNP that is among the country’s frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

All generals in the police force are eligible to be promoted to the police’s top post. The president may also choose a general outside the shortlist given by Año to be his next police chief.

When asked about the possible extension of Gamboa’s term as PNP chief amid the public health crisis, Año replied with: “Palagay ko naman wala na siguro kasi bawal naman ang extension kasi, so we have to follow the law,” he said. “Ang organization naman kasi dynamic, naka-lay out naman dyan ang direction plans kahit naman sino umupo diyan, itutuloy nya lang yung programs.”

Among the three-star generals and members of command group of the PNP are deputy chief for administration Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, and chief directorial staff Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag.

Cascolan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986, while both Eleazar and Binay belong to PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.

Cascolan will retire in November 2020, Eleazar in November 2021, and Binag in April 2021.

Meanwhile, among the two-star and one-star generals whose names might get picked on for the top police post are directorate for operations director Major General Emmanuel Licup, National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold Sinas, and Police Regional Office 4A director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.

Both Licup and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang class of 1987 while Danao belongs to the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Cops are security escorts in house-to-house COVID-19 visits — PNP

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified rumors on the planned house-to-house visits to locate individuals positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

According to PNP Spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac, the police will only act as security escorts to local health authorities who will spearhead the process. 

“Mangunguna pa rin talaga ang mga local health workers natin, at ang pagbabasehan niyan ay iyong mga listahan nila ng mga positive cases (The local health workers will lead [the initiative], and will base their visits on the list of positive cases),” Banac said. 

“Sila talaga ang nakakaalam niyan (They are the ones who are familiar with the list),” he added.

But still, the official said they will conduct a thorough search of all persons who had direct contact with someone who has COVID-19 to prevent further spread of the disease. 

This perhaps, Banac said, was what critics misunderstood from the statement of PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa who likened contract tracing to tracking fugitives.

“Ang pinatutungkulan ni PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa ay iyong pamamaraan ng contact tracing kung saan ito ay pinangunahan ni Mayor Benjie Magalong ‘yung sistema ng paghahanap ng mga possible na mga exposure sa COVID-19, [PNP Chief Archie Gamboa was referring to the manner of contact tracing that will be led by Mayor Benjie Magalong. He was referring to the system of searching those with possible exposure to COVID-19,]” Banac explained.  

“Hindi ito iyong tungkol doon sa pagsundo ng mga positive cases na, [It was not about fetching the positive cases,]” he added.

Banac assured that the public has nothing to worry about the house visits for COVID-19 patients. 

Even Joint Task Force COVID Shield Commander PLTGENPLTGEN. Guillermo Eleazar stressed that police personnel will only serve as security escorts in the planned house to house visits. 

“Ang role ng ating PNP ay para tumulong sa ating LGU through their health officers or workers kasi sila ang nakakaalam kung sino ang mga pasyente na positive na para dalhin sa mga isolation facilities (The role of our policemen is to help our LGUs specifically the health workers as they are the ones who know the positive cases so they could be sent to isolation facilities),” Eleazar concluded. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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PNP to conduct tracing of individuals who had direct contact with COVID-19 patients

Maris Federez   •   July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has belied reports that they will be searching for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive patients as if they are running after fugitives.

In a phone interview, PNP spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac clarified that they are not the ones heading the house-to-house search for individuals infected with the virus but the barangay or city health workers.

Banac added that their role in the contact tracing is to provide escort to the infected individuals who will be advised to go to COVID-19 facilities.

“Mangunguna pa rin talaga ang mga local health workers natin at ang pagbabasehan n’yan ay of course ‘yung mga listahan nila ng mga positive cases, so sila talaga ang nakakaalam n’yan,” Banac said.

Banac, however, added that they will be conducting a thorough search of individuals who had direct contact with those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus.

“Ang pinatutungkulan ni PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa ay yung pamamaraan ng contact tracing kung saan ito ay pinangunahan ni Mayor Benjie Magalong. ‘Yung sistema ng paghahanap ng mga possible na mga exposure sa Covid-19, hindi ito ‘yung tungkol doon sa pagsundo ng mga positive cases na,” he said.

Joint Task Force Coronavirus (JTF CV) Shield Commander PLtGen. Guillermo Eleazar also reiterated that the role of the police is just to provide escort to the barangay or city health workers in locating and picking up those who are positive for COVID-19.

“Ang role ng ating PNP ay para tumulong sa ating LGU through their health officers or workers kasi sila ang nakakaalam kung sino ‘yung mga pasyente na positive na para dalhin sa mga isolation facilities,” Eleazar said. — (with inputs from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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