PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde yesterday said they will abide by President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to fire five police officials from Western Visayas for their reported involvement in illegal drugs.
Albayalde said the five will be given the chance to defend themselves before the proper forum.
“We have no right to question the decision of the President who has an unlimited source of information. But we will give them due process. Hindi naman porke na-relieve sila eh guilty na sila, it’s not outright dismissal from the service,” the PNP chief told a press conference at Camp Crame.
However, he said that they have to follow the President. “Remember what the President says, it’s a specific directive. He’s the Commander-in-Chief and that’s taken as a directive,” he said.
Duterte on Saturday axed the five. Following the presidential order, the Police Regional Office 6 ordered the transfer of the five to the Regional Personnel Administrative Unit.
The five were identified as Sr. Supt. Francisco Ebreo, Supt. Ritchie Yatar, Supt. Nasruddin Tayuan, Supt. Allan Macapagal and Sr. Insp. Victor Paulino.
Ebreo is the erstwhile Bacolod City Police Station chief. He was replaced by Supt. Henry Binas who was designated by Police Regional Office 6 director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao as officer-in-charge of the local police.
Yatar was also relieved from the Bacolod City police.
Albayalde, reacting to a question from the media, said it is not right to say that no actions were taken against the five by the PNP over the past two years and it took the President to have them axed.
“Probably, may information ang ating Presidente, kaya nga we have to give them due process,” he said.
Albayalde said he was informed by Bulalacao that Ebreo is a “snappy” officer but still has to undergo an investigation.
The PNP chief said that the PNP has stepped-up its counter-intelligence efforts against rogues in uniform and even have looked into the case of some police generals mentioned before by the President for their alleged drug links.
“It’s all part of our internal cleansing. Kung totoo man ito, masama ang pakiramdam natin, but we have to know, we have to validate, to investigate thoroughly. Kasi kung totoo nga ito, it’s automatic na may inuutusan sila,” he said.
A press statement from the Presidential Communications Operations Office quoted the President as saying: “I’d like to know if the chief of police (Bacolod) is here. If you are here, kindly stand up because you are fired as of this moment.”
Duterte announced the sacking of Ebreo in his speech at an event in Bacolod City’s L’Fisher Hotel.
“In your involvement in drugs and making the people of Bacolod miserable, I am relieving and dismissing you from the service as of now Sr. Supt. Francis Ebreo,” the President added.
Bulalacao said that according to a report, Ebreo was “allegedly enabling the proliferation of illegal drugs in Bacolod City because he is protecting police commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the BCPO allegedly involved in illegal drugs.”
The Chief Executive also announced the dismissal of the four other police officials. “Then you have Supt. Tayuan... and Supt. Yatar... and there is Victor Paulino, police SI... Macapagal, you are out,” the President said.
He also ordered the police officers to report to his office at 2 p.m. yesterday.
According to the President, the policemen are protecting a drug syndicate in the city. “But these persons that I have mentioned have something to do with the interest of the city...you are protecting, or you are in cahoots with the drug syndicate,” Duterte said.