(UPDATED) - Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said on Monday, January 14, that relieved Bacolod City Police chief, Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo, was neither on the PNP’s drugs watchlist nor on President Rodrigo Duterte's.
"As far as I am concerned, wala (siya sa PNP watchlist. Wala rin (siya sa list ni President Rodrigo Duterte),” Albayalde said in a press conference in Camp Crame.
“Probably, yes (nasa list siya ni Presidente),” he added.
Albayalde said the relief of Ebreo and four other policemen does not mean that they are already guilty.
He said these cops will be given due process and will be given the chance to prove their innocence.
Albayalde said Ebreo will be meeting the President in Malacañang to discuss the matter.
In his speech during an event in Bacolod City on Saturday evening, Duterte ordered the relief of Ebreo and four other officers, namely Superintendents Richie Yatar and Nasruddin Daud Tayuan, Senior Superintendent Allan Rubi Macapagal and Senior Inspector Victor Paulino over alleged drug links.
Albayalde said Duterte as the commander-in-chief has his own sources of information.
“Well una wala tayo sigurong karapatan para i-question ‘yung decision ng ating pangulo because we know for a fact that the president has unlimited sources of information also not only coming from the PNP. If that is the wisdom of the president kailangan implement natin ‘yun,” he said.
Speaking to Palace reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the executive branch would ensure that Ebreo and the four other officers would be given due process.
"There is an administrative process for that. So right now, he has been relieved as chief of police of Bacolod," Panelo said.
"Definitely. Palagi namang ganoon (due process is always given," he added, when asked if due process will be given to the sacked police officers.
Panelo said Duterte may have received "intelligence information" with regard to the sacked policemen's alleged links to illegal drugs.
"There must be a basis why the President has relieved this [Bacolod police] chief [and four other police officers]. I suppose intelligence information has reached him, that's why he made his move," he said.
"[The information came] not only [from] his own. We have the PNP (Philippine National Police), we have the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group). We have the Pdea (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency). All these agencies ordinarily provide information, relative to those those involved in the illegal drug industry," he added.
In a speech delivered during a private birthday celebration of a businessman, the President said his decision to dismiss the five cops from service was meant to protect people of Bacolod.
"In your involvement in drugs and making the people of Bacolod miserable, I am relieving and dismissing you from the service as of now, Senior Superintendent Francis Ebreo. Then you have Superintendent Tayuan and Superintendent Yatar. And there is Victor Paulino. Macapagal, you are out," Duterte was quoted as saying by Palace.
"These persons [whom] I have mentioned have something to do with the interest of the city. You are protecting, or you are in cahoots with the drug syndicate in the city," he added.
It was not the first time that Duterte gave such order that caught the PNP, particularly Albayalde, by surprise.
In October, Duterte publicized a drug matrix which included former Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto, retired Superintendent Ismael Fajardo Jr., Senior Superintendent Leonardo Suan, Superintendent Lorenzo Bacia, Police Inspectors Lito Pirote and Conrado Caragdag and Senior Police Officer 4 Alejandro Gerardo Liwanag who were all former members of PDEG. (SunStar Philippines)