DAVAO CITY (Updated) -- The intelligence officer in Davao Region who was tagged in the murder case of Cebuano businessman Richard Lim King was relieved from his post Tuesday.

Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) Director Leonardo A. Felonia was ordered relieved by Police Intelligence Group Director Diosdado Ramos.

Felonia was placed under investigation at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Southern Mindanao. It was former deputy director Chief Inspector Ryan Paloma who replaced him sa RIU chief.

"I would also like to clarify that RIU is a national support unit, hindi siya under ng PRO 11 (Police Regional Office-Davao). In fact, ang kanilang office ay nasa Ecoland [Davao City]. Its personnel are directed by the higher headquarters from Camp Crame. As to the details of his (Felonia) relief, I cannot speak in behalf of the Regional Intelligence Unit," said PRO-Davao pokesperson Chief Inspector Jed Clamor in an interview Tuesday at Camp Quintin M. Merecido in Catitipan.

Felonia, who is also the supervisor for Mindanao of Task Force Sanglahi-Alpha on Counter-Terrorism, decided to submit himself before the NBI office in this city on Monday evening to clear his name on the accusation hurled against him.

"I am here submitting myself for investigation and to look for my own counsel to defend me. That's all," he said.

Policeman Leonardo Felonia surrenders to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
DAVAO. PNP-Davao Regional Intelligence Unit head Sr. Supt. Leonardo Felonia stays behind as Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gives emphasis to the media on why he turned over Felonia to the NBI after the policeman was tagged in the murder of businessman Richard King on Monday night. (King Rodriguez)

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte accompanied the official to the NBI office. Felonia kept his silence while he was presented to the media.

"He is not a suspect as of this time. But alam ko at alam niya na lumabas ang pangalan niya doon. Whether true or not, give him a chance to explain. I'm waiting for the final result of the investigation," Duterte told reporters in a press conference held at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) office on Monday evening.

Duterte said said he does not want to interfere with the probe.

"Let the NBI handle him first. Hayaan muna natin ang NBI. Give us time to investigate. He's not a suspect but pumunta siya sa akin," Duterte said.

He said a police officer informed him that Felonia's name was dragged into the killing of King.

"Sinabi ko sa kanya lumabas ang pangalan mo. I do not want to speculate. He has to be investigated formally. Since he's a police officer, you might want to surrender sa NBI. If you want to clear your mind, submit yourself for an investigation. I am not saying anything. But he has the right to explain what happened," Duterte said.

Duterte advised Felonia to get a lawyer so he could answer all the accusations hurled against him by Rommel dela Cerna, one of the three suspects involved in the murder case.

Rommel confessed to the authorities that Felonia contacted Paul Dave Labang, the gunman, instructing them to check if King was at his office. Rommel said when they have verified King's presence at the Vital C building, Labang then entered the building and shot the victim.

Arrested apart from Labang was Rommel's brother, Rodel dela Cerna, a motorcycle driver.

The three suspects are reportedly workers of the Laud Firing Range. Rommel earlier went to Davao City Police Office to report the crime.

NBI Director Dante Guirran, in an interview with the Bombo Radyo on Tuesday morning, assured that the bureau will conduct a fact-finding investigation about Felonia's involvement in the murder case.

He said he appreciated Felonia for submitting himself for investigation.

"We will conduct our own investigation. Among subayon tanan gikan sa mga witnesses, cartographic sketch, hantod sa mga suspects, tanan na kailangan. Ang among ika-pasalig na among buhaton among trabaho aron masulbad ang kini," Guirran said.

Felonia remains free until now since there is no pending warrant of arrest against him.

Meanwhile, a case for illegal possession of firearms was earlier charged against Labang.

But around 8 p.m. Monday, a murder case was charged against him, the Dela Cerna brothers, and Felonia.

Labang and the Dela Cerna brothers are now detained at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) jail.

The DCPO also placed two security police personnel outside the jail, particularly in front of the Investigation and Detection Management Branch office, to ensure the safety of the suspects. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)