TWO days before the ban on the transfer of civil service officials took effect, Camp Crame signed orders for the relief of at least four high-ranking police officials in the region.

Among the officials to be transferred are Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Jesus Gaquing and Mandaue City Police Chief Orlando Ualat.

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Regional Logistics Chief Erson Digal is set to replace Gaquing, while Community Relations Chief Noel Gillamac will reportedly replace Ualat.

Gaquing said his relief from the CPPO took effect last Friday but he only knew of it yesterday morning.

Gaquing believes this was due to the regular reshuffling done before election period.

Also, his scheduled retirement on May 22 may have led to the signing of the order, to avoid a vacuum in the CPPO leadership.

His retirement falls within the election period, while the ban on transferring civil service employees is still in effect.

He admitted he still did not know if he was going to report to the CPPO today.

“I still have to ask for further instructions,” Gaquing said.

Earlier, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) had announced it was going to reshuffle PNP officials, especially city and provincial directors, to ensure non-partisanship in May’s polls.

Digal admitted he knew about the order but said he has not seen a copy of it.

He said that at first, he was told to replace Lapu-Lapu City Police Chief Mariano Natuel. However, he was later told that instead of going to Lapu-Lapu, he was to replace Gaquing at the CPPO.

Ualat, for his part, said he heard reports about his transfer from Mandaue City since Saturday, but has not seen the actual orders.

“I cannot confirm in the absence of official orders,” he said.

Negros Oriental Provincial Police Chief Augusto Marquez was also supposedly included in the revamp.

Marquez said that after the order for his relief was signed last Friday, it was also immediately reversed after an official requested his retention.

He said he will remain in his post.

Last Friday, reporters heard about Marquez’s relief from the NOPPO, but Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Lani-o Nerez said he had not seen the orders yet.

Calls to Nerez yesterday were unanswered.

Chief of Staff Edgardo Ingking told Sun.Star Cebu that orders arrived from Camp Crame by fax.

He would not confirm who was affected by the orders because he had not seen these yet. He said he also had to get clearance from Nerez first.