THE Police Regional Office (PRO)-Western Visayas is investigating the alleged drug links of sacked Bacolod City Police Office Chief Francisco Ebreo and Councilor Ricardo Tan.
This was confirmed on Thursday, January 17, by Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of PRO-Western Visayas, but he refused to further comment on the issue.
This came after President Rodrigo Duterte, in media reports, opened up his suspicion that Ebreo and his deputy made a hospital visit to Tan after the latter and his wife were ambushed in Barangay Alangilan in December 2018.
Duterte said Ebreo could have just sent an investigator to probe the case, instead of him going there, along with his deputy.
If Ebreo is not into a trafficking business, he is at the very least a “drug protector,” Duterte said, as he justified his decision on firing Ebreo, and four other commissioned officers over their supposed alleged drug links.
Duterte was also wondering about Ebreo’s action of assigning security guards for Tan at the hospital, which he described a “strange behavior.”
The police earlier said that detailing guards or additional security for a government official is allowed if they can establish the danger on his life.
Despite Duterte's allegation of Tan's drug links, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) maintained that Ebreo is not included in any of their watchlists.
The PDEA also denounced Tan’s alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
But the Palace claimed that Duterte has “tentacles of intelligence,” which are his sources of information.
Tan and his wife were ambushed by three assailants on board a white wagon vehicle on December 14, 2018.
Police eyed four angles on the incident -- business rivalry, illegal drugs, personal, and politics, but there has been no development yet on the case, aside from having persons of interest.
Tan who was also previously linked to illegal drugs had denied the allegations against him but he has yet to issue a statement on the allegations of Duterte.
Bulalacao said Ebreo and the four other police officers -- Superintendents Ritchie Yatar, Alan Macapagal, Nasruddin Tayuan, and Senior Inspector Victor Paulino -- are currently under the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit, pending the investigation.
“Whatever is the result of the investigation, it will be submitted to Camp Crame for the higher office to verify and validate the evidence gathered by the regional level,” Bulalacao said.
They (Camp Crame) will also conduct a separate investigation as ordered by the President, he added.
Meanwhile, Bulalacao clarified that the five relieved policemen were not demoted but were reprimanded and castigated by Duterte when they met him at Malacañang on January 15.
Duterte expressed his frustration over their alleged drug links in Bacolod, during their 20-minute meeting.
The five alleged narco-cops denied the allegations against them in front of the President.