PRO3 chief faces graft raps before OMB

August 13, 2020

SAN ANTONIO, Nueva Ecija – Charges of graft and corruption and grave abuse of authority were filed by Mayor Arvin C. Salonga against Police Regional Office 3 director Brig. Gen. Rhodel O. Sermonia before the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City on Wednesday.

The criminal and administrative complaints filed by Salonga before the anti-graft body against Sermonia stemmed from the latter's July 15 order relieving Major Roderick N. Corpuz as the town's chief of police and re-assigning him to the Tarlac police provincial office.

In his five-page complaint filed for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Salonga said that Sermonia's order calling for the immediate and abrupt transfer of Corpuz to Tarlac City was in violation of Section 63 of Republic Act 8551 or "The Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998."

The mayor noted that as a result of Corpuz's relief, Major Ador S. Depnag was subsequently designated as police officer-in-charge effective July 22.

Salonga described Corpuz as an exemplary police officer having been appointed initially as an officer-in-charge until his designation as a full-fledged police chief during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor credited Corpuz for his accomplishments in barangay drug-clearing operations and the implementation of strict border patrols and vital programs of the town government related to containing the spread of the coronavirus-19 disease.

Salonga noted that under R.A. 8551's Section 63 in the participation of local government executives in the administration of the PNP, it provides that "city and municipal mayors shall have the authority to choose the chief of police from a list of five eligibles recommended by the provincial police director, preferably from the same province, city or town..."

However, the mayor pointed out that his right to choose Corpuz's replacement was intentionally disregarded and ignored by Sermonia because there was no existing emergency to justify when the latter ordered his abrupt and random transfer to Tarlac PPO.

"In fact, Major Depnag was designated in an OIC-capacity of the municipal police without even showing me his qualification and eligibility to assume the said position," Salonga added.

The mayor added that this haphazard transfer of Corpuz by Sermonia constitutes violations of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because this was done despite the absence of any emergency to justify the same and without observing the provisions of Section 63 of Republic Act 8551.

The filing of the complaint by Salonga against the PRO3 chief came five days after the latter ordered the sudden relief for unknown reasons of Nueva Ecija top cop Col. Leon Victor Rosete and the interim appointment of Col. Marvin Saro as his replacement.

However, Camp Crame allegedly intervened and put on hold Sermonia's relief order, reportedly giving Rosete a two-week-extension to stay at his post....