MANILA – Sacked Bacolod City police director Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo was not in the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) drug watch list, according to Director General Oscar Albayalde. He vowed to give Ebreo and four other sacked Bacolod police officials due process. Claiming they were protectors of illegal drug syndicates, President Rodrigo Duterte relieved the five police officers from their posts on Saturday.
But yesterday Albayalde said, “As far as I am concerned, wala siya sa PNP watch list.”
So why did the President order the axing of Ebreo and the other four policemen?
Albayalde said Duterte, as commander-in-chief, had his own sources of information.
“If that is the wisdom of the President kailangan implement natin ‘yun,” said Albayalde.
The relieved police officials were told to report to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of the Police Regional Office 6 in Iloilo City.
Albayalde said they would be give due process. He also stressed their relief did not mean they were already guilty.
The four other sacked police officers were Superintendent Allan Macapagal, deputy city director for operation; Superintendent Ritchie Yatar, chief of City Mobile Force Company; Superintendent Nassrudin Tayuan, former team leader of the City Drug Enforcement Unit; and Senior Inspector Victor Paulino, former chief of Police Station 3 who was re-assigned to the City Mobile Force Company last month.
“This is an administrative relief pending the result of an investigation. Hindi naman outright dismissed from the service,” Albayalde told reporters at a briefing in Camp Crame.
He, however, said even if the intelligence information about Ebreo’s alleged illegal activities was not valid, if Duterte ordered to uproot him from his post, no one could do anything but heed the President’s instruction.
“That is a specific order coming from no less than the Commander-in-Chief himself, more than the PNP chief,” said Albayalde.
Albayalde said he received information from Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of the Police Regional Office 6, that Ebreo had been performing well as commander of the Bacolod police.
“Based on the discussion with the RD [regional director], PD [city police director] is very snappy. We will see,” Albayalde said.
He also said they have yet to gather concrete evidence to prove claims that the policemen were linked to illegal drug activities.
“But then again, sabi ko nga, before we comment on this we have to validate and investigate this thoroughly. Hindi natin alam baka hindi lang sila ang involved din dito,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo echoed Albayalde’s due process pledge yesterday.
“Ang alam ko lang, ni-relieve siya as chief of police. ‘Yun pa lang. Eh meron naman, there is an administrative process for that. Right now he is relieved as chief of police of Bacolod,” Panelo said.
The five of them would be given a chance to air their side, he stressed.
But the President’s spokesperson also said Duterte could have obtained intelligence information on the five policemen from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency or Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
“There must be a basis why the President relieved this police chief. I suppose intelligence information reached him,” Panelo said.
At a private party in Bacolod City on Saturday, Duterte stunned guests when he announced the dismissal of the five Bacolod City police officials.
“I’d like to know if the chief of police is here. If you are here kindly stand up because you are fired as of this moment,” Duterte was quoted as saying.
The President was the special guest at the birthday party of Vallacar Transit chief executive officer Leo Rey Yanson.
“In your involvement in drugs and making the people of Bacolod miserable, I am relieving and dismissing you from the service as of now, Senior Superintendent Francis Ebreo,” said Duterte. (With a report from the Philippine National Police/PN)