By Genalyn Kabiling and Martin Sadongdong
The Bacolod police chief and four other cops, who were ordered relieved by President Rodrigo Duterte due to their alleged links with the illegal drug trade, will still be given due process, Malacañang said Monday.
“There is an administrative process for that. Right now, he has been relieved as chief of police of Bacolod,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
This was the same assurance given by Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde who said that Sr. Supt. Francis Ebreo and the four other police officers were relieved pending the result of an investigation which were administrative in nature.
“We will give them due process. Hindi naman porke na-relieve sila (It doesn’t mean that when they were relieved) they were already guilty. It’s an administrative relief pending the result of an investigation. Hindi naman (It’s not) outright dismissed from the service,” Albayalde pointed out.
Ebreo, along with four other police officers, were ordered sacked by Duterte, who made the announcement during a birthday party in Bacolod City Saturday night because of allegedly protecting narco-cops in the city.
The four other cops were identified as Superintendent Allan Macapagal, Supt. Richie Yatar, Supt. Naruddin Tayuan — who was already assigned in Mindanao last year, and Senior Inspector Victor Paulino.
Panelo said the President must have had sufficient basis to order the dismissal of the police officers.
He noted that the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are among the law enforcement agencies that provide the President with information related to those allegedly involved in the narcotics trade.
“There must a basis why the President has relieved this chief. I suppose intelligence information has reached him that’s why he made his move,” he said.
In his visit to Bacolod last Saturday, the President called out the Bacolod police chief if he was present during a private birthday celebration of a businessman.
“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,” he said.
The President has repeatedly warned policemen against getting involved in illegal drugs and other crimes, saying he would not hesitate to fire them from service.