CAGAYAN de Oro Mayor Constantino Jaraula and Regional Police Director Danilo Empedrad said they had no prior information of the relief and abrupt replacement of Police Senior Superintendent Noel Armilla.
The mayor said he was taken aback upon learning on Monday that the city already had a new police director; the Camp Alagar chief said he was "surprised" with the unexpected reshuffling, including the manner by which it was swiftly implemented.
"I was surprised when I received the order from (Camp) Crame for the sudden revamp, and the immediate implementation of it," said Police Regional Director Danilo Empedrad.
Nevertheless, Empedrad said there was nothing irregular about Armilla's transfer, as the reshuffling among PNP personnel was nationwide in scope.
"It was not a special case because it was a nationwide revamp," he said,
Armilla was replaced by Police Senior Superintendent Benedicto Lopez, whose last posting was in Camp Crame's directorate for investigation.
Under the law, local executives should be given a shortlist of five possible replacements before the Philippine National Police (PNP) changes its local guard.
Jaraula, however, did not point this out, blaming instead the lack of "proper coordination" between government agencies as the reason why he wasn't aware of the Saturday's turnover of command.
"The DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) and the Comelec (Commission on Elections) should have coordinated to have us informed," he told RMN-dxCC in an interview Monday.
The mayor's tone is in stark contrast with that of the Liberal Party, which sees the massive, nationwide revamp of local police officials as a tool for elections cheating.
In a statement over the weekend, the party of Senator Benigno Aquino III condemned the "untimely revamp of local police chiefs...without the knowledge of local executives."
It said the "reshuffle was a prelude of the administration's sinister plot to perpetrate massive cheating in the 2010 national elections."
It listed some 20 police officials around the country affected by the revamp, which began early this year.
The revamp was challenged in Cavite when Governor Ireneo "Ayong" Maliksi obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Cavite regional trial court against the transfer of Senior Superintendent Alfred S. Corpuz, director of the Cavite Provincial Police Office.
For his part, Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya, chairman of the committee on police and public safety, said they're willing to "work with anybody in Cocpo bisan dili lugar gikan ang recommendation sa City Hall."
"But of course we remain firm on our position that we will not hesitate to criticize anyone at Cocpo who performs poorly," the councilor added.
But Nacaya-whose party Padayon Pilipino party is allied with former president Joseph Estrada's Partido ng Masang Pilipino-would not say whether Armilla's relief was politically-motivated. (ALR)