THE entire personnel of police stations in Daanbantayan and San Fernando were relieved by Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Debold Sinas when he visited the two towns on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Forty-one police officers, including the two police station chiefs, were transferred to other units.
Sinas first went to the Daanbantayan Police Station, where he relieved all the 21 officers, including the commander, Senior Insp. Aldrin Nalua.
Vice Mayor Gilbert Arabis said he respected Sinas’s decision.
“We can’t do nothing about it. This is not the first time that the police officers were relieved from their assignments,” he said.
Provincial Board Member Sun Shimura said he had no problem with the relief order, but he said the town police had been vigilant in the campaign against illegal drugs, while the Municipal Government had helped rehabilitated drug surrenderers.
He said Daanbantayan was even named the gold champion of the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office’s Sugbo Kontra Droga (Sukod) program.
But Sinas said he received an intelligence report that officers refused to arrest suspected criminals because they knew them or they’d be at home even though they were on duty.
Eight of the personnel admitted they lived in the town.
Sinas pointed out that the police station only conducted 11 anti-narcotics operations last year.
“Your relief is for a cause. You’ve been here for a while. Your performance here is very bad. Sometimes, you don’t report for duty. Sometimes, you don’t arrest drug suspects because you are afraid because you live here, or you don’t arrest a drug suspect because you know him personally. So, we need to address that,” Sinas told his men in Cebuano.
Nalua admitted their performance in the war against illegal drugs was poor because they didn’t have the community’s support. He said the station’s 11 drug busts were conducted after he became police chief last May.
He agreed with the relief order as most of his personnel had relatives in the town.
“It’s a very nice move that they are re-assigned to other place,” Nalua said.
Sinas did not meet Mayor Vicente Loot, who had been repeatedly tagged as a drug protector by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Loot was stripped of his police supervisory power in 2016. He recently returned to work after a vacation abroad.
The relieved personnel, who were replaced by 28 police officers from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) 7, were given two days to pack their things.
Chief Insp. William Homoc was appointed as the new commander of Daanbantayan Police Station. He was the former police chief of San Remigio. Nalua was transferred to lead the Oslob Police Station in southern Cebu.
The outgoing and incoming personnel of the Daanbantayan Police Station were subjected to a drug test. The service firearms of the relieved cops were taken from them and were given to the RMFB 7 personnel.
The relieved personnel, excluding Nalua, were told to report to the RMFB 7 headquarters in Sibonga on Tuesday, Jan. 15, where they would undergo the moral recovery program for 30 days.
Sinas said the relief was part of their preparation for the midterm elections in May.
Later in the afternoon, the police official relieved 21 personnel of the San Fernando Police Station and replaced them with 31 personnel from the RMFB 7. The relieved officers will also undergo a moral recovery program.
Senior Insp. Arvi Arbuis, the town police chief, was transferred to Negros Oriental. He was replaced by Chief Insp. Lymel Pasquin.
The relief came two days after the murder of San Fernando Councilor Rene Boy Dacalos, who was attacked by riding-in-tandem assailants last Jan. 10.
Sinas said his move was meant to tighten the security in the town. He also ordered his personnel to monitor the reemergence of the underlings of self-confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones.
Sinas said the police should do their best to prevent candidates from using drug money.
Last September, the police official also transferred 65 Talisay City police personnel to other units due to allegations that some of them were involved in illegal drugs. The officers underwent a moral recovery program.
Eight of the relieved Talisay City cops had pending cases for allegedly stealing packs of shabu seized during drug busts, while another non-commissioned officer tested positive of drug use twice. From FMD, SCG of Superbalita Cebu / KAL