35 Davao police relieved amid drug operation probe

35 Davao police relieved amid drug operation probe
Macky Lim/SunStar File Photo

THE immediate administrative relief of 35 Davao police personnel, effective May 23 and 24, 2024, was recommended by the Police Regional Office-Regional Internal Affairs Service (PRO-Rias-Davao). No additional officers will be named as of this posting.

This decision follows a motu proprio investigation into the deaths of seven individuals during anti-illegal drugs operations from March 23 to 26.

“Based po sa recommendation ng Rias [Davao], 35 personnel lang po ang ma relieve sa post (Based on the recommendation of RIAS Davao, only 35 personnel will be relieved from their posts)," PRO-Davao spokesperson, Major Catherine Dela Rey disclosed to SunStar via a phone interview, Sunday, May 25.

The list includes six station commanders, five deputy commanders, 23 Police Non-Commissioned Officers (PNCOs), and former city director Colonel Richard Bad-ang, who served the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) for only two months. These officers will now be assigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Section (RPHAS) headquarters.

PRO-Davao director Brigadier General Aligre Martinez stated that this move aims for a transparent and balanced investigation of the buy-bust operations. 

"The PNP leadership, particularly Region 11, remains committed to upholding its mandate," said Martinez. "This includes enforcing the law, preventing and controlling crime, maintaining peace and order, and ensuring public safety and internal security – all with the active support of the community."

On Saturday evening, May 24, Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte condemned the incident on his Facebook account, criticizing the apparent abuse of power by higher authorities. 

Duterte highlighted a significant 69 percent decrease in focus crimes for the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period last year.

“It's disheartening to witness such disruptive actions within our law enforcement agencies. The officers implicated, including esteemed city director Col. Bad-ang and the station commanders, have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their responsibilities. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence supporting the assertion that the buy-bust operations were conducted within the bounds of the law. Any insinuation of misconduct on their part is unfounded and unjust,” the mayor said in his statement.

It can be recalled that Duterte declared a “war on drugs” during the turnover ceremony of the new city director at DCPO Headquarters on March 22, marking the first such declaration since he assumed office in May 2022. DEF

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