MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday continued relieving more police officers in Negros Oriental following the Mar. 4 bloodbath that killed Gov. Roel Degamo and 8 others.
The PNP said it sacked 56 police personnel in Sta. Catalina, a southern town beside Bayawan City where 3 of Degamo’s alleged gunmen were arrested, right after the entire Bayawan City 75-man police force was relieved.
PNP spokesperson P/Col. Jean Fajardo said that the relieved cops would be temporarily be assigned at the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office.
“Ililipat sila sa provincial office pansamantala, habang inaayos yung kanilang mga programa dahil itong mata-transfer na mga PNP personnel ay mag-a-undergo ng mga refresher course at values formation programs para to refresh and reorient them of the existing PNP policies,” Fajardo said.
P/Maj. Gerry Leones was designated as the new chief of the Sta. Catalina Police, she said.
PNP’s No. 2 cop, Deputy Chief for Adminstration Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, flew to Negros Oriental to personally lead the relief of police officers.
“Siya rin mismo ang kumausap sa ating mga personnel at ipinaliwanag sa kanila kung bakit kinakailangan natin gawin itong massive relief at this will not only be the transfer na mangyayari,” Fajardo said, noting that more police personnel in Negros Oriental are expected to relieved in the coming days.
The revamping of the Negros Oriental police force was a decision made by the PNP leadership based on recommendations of Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Degamo, so as to avoid hampering the ongoing investigation and pursuit operations.
She said police officers who would replace the troops assigned in other areas will be sourced from the Police Regional Office-7 (PRO-7).
Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. earlier said that relieving the province's police force would “help strengthen peace and order in the area, as well as restore the people's trust to uniformed personnel.”
"This is a high-profile case and people are enraged. With this move, we hope to calm the public particularly the residents of Negros Oriental,” Abalos said.
“The move to overhaul and relieve the entire police force in Negros Oriental is part of the DILG and PNP's efforts to double up initiatives in maintaining security in the province,” he added.
SECURITY FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS
Meanwhile, PNP also assured that security would be provided to local officials amid concerns brought by a spate of violence targeting elected officials including Degamo.
Fajardo said the assurance was given during a meeting among Abalos, the PNP leadership, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) at Camp Crame Tuesday.
Abalos also assured ULAP that the situation in Negros Oriental was being managed by a joint force of police and military personnel, and that the government was doing everything within its means to resolve Degamo’s assassination.
ANC, ANC promo, PNP, Philippine National Police, Roel Degamo, Sta. Catalina, Bayawan City, Negros Oriental