MANILA -- The police chief of Negros Oriental was relieved from his post following a spate of killings in the province, the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.
Negros Oriental police director Col. Raul Tacaca was relieved "to give way to an impartial probe on possible lapses by his administration in light of several high profile killings in the province," PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said.
Central Visayas police chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas will designate an officer-in-charge for the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, said Banac.
Banac said "the peace and order situation in Negros Oriental is under control" and that authorities were on full alert to prevent crime.
PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde also ordered the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to lead a task force that will probe the killings, Banac said.
Seventeen people have been killed in the province this month, including a human rights lawyer, a school principal, an education department employee, and a barangay chairman.
Four policemen were also allegedly tortured to death by communist rebels. Authorities blamed the killings on the New People's Army, which the communist rebels denied.