“IT’S a police matter. Let’s wait what would be the development and let’s take it as it is, the President has spoken and the best thing to do is to wait for the next move or development about it.”
This was the reaction of Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Monday, January 14, after five police of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), including its police chief, were relieved from their posts after President Rodrigo Duterte linked them, and a politician to illegal drugs.
Duterte made the announcement Saturday night, January 12, during the birthday celebration of Leo Rey Yanson, Vallacar Transit Incorporated president and chief executive officer, at the L’ Fisher Hotel, Bacolod City.
Relieved were Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo, acting BCPO director; Superintendent Allan Macapagal, deputy city director for administration; Superintendent Ritchie Yatar, head of the City Mobile Force Company; Superintendent Nasruddin Tayuan of BCPO; and Senior Inspector Victor Paulino, former head of Police Station 3 and Mobile Patrol Group.
Duterte also mentioned Councilor Ricardo Tan to be allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
Ebreo was succeeded by Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas, chief of the Regional Personnel and Human Resource Doctrine Development Division of Police Regional Office(PRO)- Western Visayas.
Leonardia admitted that in May 2018, he also requested the relief of Ebreo, but he doesn’t know why it was not acted by PRO- Western Visayas.
“At one point, I was with Congressman Greg Gasataya and we requested for it (the relief of Ebreo). It was more of a change because we were no longer at ease or comfortable with the situation,” Leonardia said.
He said they received reports that their political opponents like Tan and Abang-Lingkod Partylist Representative Stephen Paduano were visiting Ebreo which was not reported to him.
“The matters like these, he (Ebreo) should inform me that they were visiting him and I only learned it from other sources,” he added.
The mayor recalled that before the filing of the certificate of candidacy, Tan and Paduano announced that they will run for mayor of Bacolod until they decided not to run.
“So with that, we felt that it’s hard to be with the police officer that you don’t have complete confidence. We asked his relief as early as May last year at the PRO-Western Visayas, and I had been repeating that, but somehow it was not acted so that is beyond my comprehension,” Leonardia said.
He said there was also some situation that Ebreo failed to support the city’s program like the deployment of personnel for enforcement unit and task force botagoy, and failure to consult him on the reshuffling of station commanders.
“I’m not making an assessment of his performance. I give him what is due to him, but it is just because you have to consider the human and political factors if there are already doubts,” he added.
The mayor disclosed that the BCPO has substantial support from the city government where they were receiving almost P20 million assistance for their operations.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said he is waiting that Biñas will make a courtesy call to his office.
Every time there’s a new officer-in-charge in BCPO, the campaign against illegal drugs should always be a priority, he said.
“Because we know that in the whole country, that is a problem and we have a President who is passionate about this concern (illegal drugs),” he added.