POLICE Regional Office 7 director, Brigadier General Debold M. Sinas yesterday designated the officers-in-charge of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office and three of local police chiefs in the aftermath of the controversy generated by the killing of 14 armed suspected New People’s Army rebels and tipsters in the province last week.
Named as OIC of the Negros Oriental police was Lieutenant Colonel Ali Baron while named as OIC of the Canlaon City Police Station was Major Ruben Verbo. Designated as OIC of the Manjuyod Municipal Police Station was Major Neolie Laturnas while named as OIC of the Sta. Catalina MPS was Lieutenant Ruel Pinero.
Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde on Tuesday maintained that last Saturday’s series of raids in Negros Oriental were legitimate police operations which left 14 suspects dead in gunbattles.
“They can call it massacre or whatever they want to call it but we call this a legitimate police operation,” he said. He also defended the officers who killed the suspects, saying that “in the face of an enemy firing at you, you have to defend yourself.” He said that those who are hitting the concerned policemen really have no experience in the battlefield and doesn’t know what it feels when confronted with a life-and-death situation.
The PNP chief ordered the administrative relief of erstwhile Negros Oriental police director, Colonel Raul Tacaca and three others and gave Sinas the authority to choose the right person to replace the four.
“I have ordered today the administrative relief of the Provincial Director of Negros Oriental, Police Colonel Raul Tacaca and three Chiefs of Police to give way to an impartial investigation into the death of 14 suspects during a recent series of police operations,” Albayalde said.
Also relieved were Canlaon City police chief, Lt. Col. Patricio Degay, Captain Michael Rubia, the chief of the Sta. Catalina police and Lt. Kelvin Roy Mamaradlo, the chief of the Manjuyod police station.
“I would like to emphasize that their relief is not a punitive measure for alleged actions or inactions rather it is an administrative relief to ensure that they will not be able to exert any influence in the ongoing investigation by the Internal Affairs Service and the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management,” Gen. Albayalde said.