BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) has echoed the reminder issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for police officers to stay away from partisan politics.
This came after six Negrense policemen were recently ordered dismissed by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) for the illegal arrest of Moises Padilla Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo when she was still vice mayor in 2017.
“Precisely, we should not be involved in political matters. We see this as a lesson. Due to politics, this is what happened to them. In line with our duty, we should just abide by the motto ‘to serve and protect’ the people,” Lt. Abegael Donasco, officer-in-charge of the Public Information Office, said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
The Napolcom ordered the dismissal of then-town police chief Capt. Allan Reloj, Master Sgt. Ricardo Campos Dingcong Jr., Cpl. Nobel Perante, Cpl. Felix Corejado Pesales Jr., Pat. Michael Mondido, and Pat. Darryl Ducay Dormido.
Reloj had already retired from the service, but the five others are still on active duty.
“They are still on-duty, until they receive the order. They are hoping they can still appeal the case,” Donasco said, adding that the NOCPPO itself has not yet officially received a copy of the order.
In a statement issued on Monday, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the dismissal of the six policemen “simply means that the DILG and the Napolcom do not tolerate political partisanship in the Philippine National Police (PNP).”
“Itong dismissal ng anim na pulis ay patunay na we remain in the straight path of justice and we continue to uphold the Constitutional protection against illegal search and arrest,” he said, adding that it should serve as “a warning to the entire PNP to be non-partisan especially during the election season.”
Año, who chairs the Napolcom, said the investigation proved that the six policemen committed grave misconduct and grave irregularities in the performance of their duties, leading to their dismissal.
In December 2017, Garcia-Yulo and her husband Felix Mathias Yulo were “illegally accosted and harassed by the six police officers headed by Reloj. While driving along Barangay Crossing Magallon in Moises Padilla, they were signaled to halt for a vehicular search by the said cops which the Napolcom found to be election-related,” the DILG report said.
The six dismissed police officers were “accused of conducting an illegal checkpoint, performing unlawful arrest upon the Yulo couple, and performing an illegal search and seizure of the vehicle of the couple in violation of the 2013 PNP Police Operational Procedures and Napolcom Memorandum Circular 2016-002,” it added.
Año reminded the police force as well as politicians to learn from the Garcia-Yulo case classified as “political harassment” as Garcia-Yulo was a political rival of then-Moises Padilla mayor Magdaleno Peña in the 2019 elections.
On May 6, or a week before the May 2019 polls, the Commission on Elections placed the central Negros municipality under its control in the wake of several violent incidents that claimed the lives of members of the Garcia family.
Two days later, President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Moises Padilla to preside over a security meeting and met separately with Garcia-Yulo and Peña. (PNA)