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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE region’s top cop ranted at police personnel who continue to resist the 7-9-7 work schedule imposed by the Police Regional Office (PRO-6).

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said he received a text message from a concerned citizen informing him that a female police officer in Iloilo City slammed him for the new work schedule.

“I verified the identity of the informant and the police officer and they do exist. There are still officers who resist the 7-9-7 schedule,” Cuevas said.

Under the 7-9-7 duty scheme, police personnel in a station are divided into three teams. Team A reports to duty from 7am to 5pm while Team B reports from 9am to 7pm. Team C will report from 7pm to 7am.

The 7-9-7 duty is a deviation from the 2-day off, 1-day duty schedule previously followed by police personnel.

“Under the new schedule, two-thirds of the police force will be on duty, thereby ensuring maximum police presence. If we have enough cops on duty, we can fulfill our peacekeeping work,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said police visibility on the streets will help deter crimes, particularly the Bukas/Basag Kotse gang which is preying on car owners.

Cuevas cited the accomplishments of the new duty shift scheme such as the foiled bank heist in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental and the solving of several robbery incidents in Iloilo province.

“In Hinigaran, the police were able to respond and neutralize the suspects because more than half of the force was on duty. Even the station commander led the hot pursuit,” he added.

The PRO-6 also credited the 7-9-7 work schedule for topping a survey on the performance of police offices in the country.

The survey was conducted by a private firm commissioned by the PNP national headquarters to check on the operational and administrative performance of police units.

Cuevas said police officers must work round-the-clock, unlike other public servants who are only required to work 8 hours a day.

Still, police officers are entitled to 1-day off per week. The scheduled break also rotates among the police station teams and personnel.

Mas maayu pa ang mga security guards kay ga duty 12 hours a day, ang police 10 hours lang ga reklamo pa. The 7-9-7 schedule aims to instill our officers that they should take our work as a serious career, not just an ordinary work. We also want to instill discipline and prevent our officers from gallivanting and moonlighting when they go on break,” Cuevas said.

The 7-9-7 schedule also assures spouses of police officers that they will go home after duty “thereby avoiding domestic problems among our officers.”

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Iloilo chapter accepted the apology issued by the region’s top police official over reports that a lawyer was coddling the Bukas Kotse gang.

In a statement emailed to The Daily Guardian, IBP-Iloilo President Marven B. Daquilanea praised C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, for clarifying the issue and apologizing for the report.

“In behalf of the IBP Iloilo Chapter I am expressing our gratitude and appreciation for the reported apology of PNP Regional Director Isagani Cuevas,” Daquilanea said.

Daquilanea said the IBP will continue to work with the PNP in law enforcement and administration of justice.

“We reiterate our admiration and support to the PNP leadership in Region 6, and we hope that we can work with them in their law enforcement efforts for the better and more effective administration of justice. Thank you, Chief Supt. Cuevas, for clarifying a sensitive matter which would have been unnecessarily derogatory to the members of our organization,” he added.

Daquilanea said he sent the statement after reading TDG’s report on Cuevas’s apology to the IBP, the tri-media and the business community Tuesday.

“I hope this will help us maintain our good relationship with…Director Cuevas,” Daquilanea said.

Cuevas made the apology following a news item quoting a PRO-6 official as saying that a lawyer, a mediaman and a businessman were protecting car thieves.

Cuevas said the information did not come from the PRO-6 but was a leading question asked to S/Supt. Edgar Layon, PRO-6 directorial staff, during a press conference.

The PRO-6 director said he apologized as the report may have offended some personalities.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THREATS continue to plague the surviving members of the Gulanes family who were ambushed in Jaro, Iloilo City two weeks ago.

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, said they received reports that unidentified persons continue to send threatening text messages to the daughter and wife of George Gulanes.

Cuevas said the senders of the text messages might be members of a group of hired guns and robbers operating in the city and province of Iloilo.

George died after two gunmen riddled their pickup truck with bullets at the gate of San Paulo Village in Brgy. Bakhaw, Jaro early morning of September 3.

His wife Ronielyn was wounded in her hand and cheek while their 14-year-old daughter was unscathed.

An intelligence community source told The Daily Guardian that the suspects who ambushed the family sent text messages to the daughter and threatened to kill them also.

The daughter has left Iloilo to an undisclosed location for her safety. Her mother Ronielyn, who is recuperating in a hospital in Iloilo City, also plans to flee after what happened to their family.

Police are looking at the family’s lending business as a possible motive for the ambush.

The Gulanes couple was to attend a court hearing on an estafa case relative to their business on the day they were waylaid.

Cuevas said they will validate the information whether the rest of the Gulanes family have fled or are planning to get out of Iloilo.

“We have no information on their plans to hide but we will verify that,” he added.

Apparently, the mastermind and gunmen of the ambush intended to wipe out the whole Gulanes family.

The intelligence source said George told his daughter to get out of the truck when the suspects began firing at the vehicle.

Investigators surmised that George may have gone out of the pickup truck to lead the suspects away from his family.

Cuevas said they have received reports that the plan of the suspects was to eliminate the whole family “but these also need validation.”

“Anybody could come up with such information that is why we will verify that first. We need first hand information on this. Our action is to intensify our intelligence monitoring to pinpoint and arrest these suspects,” Cuevas said.

Asked if the Gulanes family continues to cooperate with investigators, Cuevas said the family gave information on who could be the suspects behind the ambush.

“So far in our investigation, the surviving victims identified one of the gunmen and this could be the probable reason why they are threatening the family in order to compel them to stop cooperating with the police. But our investigators will not stop until we have filed the case and arrested the suspects,” he added.

Cuevas said he has directed S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, Iloilo City police director, to provide security to the Gulanes family.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) apologized to persons and groups who were offended by an intelligence report blunder on the operations of the Bukas Kotse gang.

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, issued the apology to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Iloilo Chapter, the business community and the tri-media in a press conference in Camp Delgado Monday.

The apology stemmed from a news item which quoted S/Supt. Edgar Layon, PRO-6 chief directorial staff, as saying that a lawyer, a businessman and a journalist were coddling car thieves.

Cuevas issued the apology after learning that IBP-Iloilo headed by Atty. Marven Daquilanea is set to send a letter to PRO-6 protesting the statements attributed to Layon.

“I am sorry. We apologize to the IBP, the tri-media and other personalities who might have been offended by that information. If there were misquotations, we apologize to those we offended because we have no intention of hurting anybody,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said the PRO-6 has no official report on the allegations of the news item that quoted Layon.

“That information was volunteered to S/Supt. Layon. We have no report on the involvement of those personalities mentioned,” he said.

Layon had said he was misquoted in the news item and he did not give the information to the media.

Layon said he was asked a leading question whether the aforementioned persons were in cahoots with the Bukas Kotse gang.

Daquilanea said the PRO-6 pronouncement was unfair since it did not identify the lawyer who is allegedly protecting car thieves.

Daquilanea said the information also undermines their profession which is to provide legal assistance to complainants and suspects alike.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

IS THE spate of robberies in Western Visayas a preparation for the 2010 elections?

Top police officials believe that robbery groups could be under the direction of some unscrupulous politicians out to raise funds for next year’s elections.

This, as two major robberies happened in Iloilo City and Hinigaran, Negros Occidental in a span of two days since Monday.

Around 10-12 heavily armed men raided the remittance center of Vallacar Transit, operator of Ceres Bus Liner, in Jaro, Iloilo City Monday evening.

The suspects, who were armed with M16 Armalite rifles, machine pistols and handguns, carted away an estimated P300,000 cash and personal belongings of Vallacar employees.

The Jaro police has yet to identify the suspects in the heist.

On Tuesday evening, six suspects attempted to rob almost P12 million from the RCBC Bank branch in the town of Hinigaran, some 60 kilometers south of Bacolod City.

Reports from the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office said the heist happened 6:45pm when the RCBC Bank on Rizal Street was about to close.

Concerned bystanders reported the incident to the Hinigaran police headed by S/Insp. Sonny Boy Bernus.

Bernus together with PO3 Romelo Gentogao, PO3 Ernel Mudanza, PO1 Lyle Cañazares and PO1 Armar Mariano chased the six suspects who commandeered a tricycle as their getaway vehicle.

A running gunbattle erupted between the police and the suspects, resulting in the death of two robbers. One of the dead suspects was identified as Dennis Española of Brgy. Cansalungon in Isabela town.

Identification cards recovered from Española showed that he is an active member of the CAFGU auxiliary under the 12th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Negros Occidental. The other killed suspect remains unidentified.

The four remaining suspects fled with three RCBC employees whom they used as hostages. The suspects later released the hostages at Brgy. Patique, Hinigaran

At around 11:45am Wednesday, the Hinigaran police and the 613th Provincial Mobile Group arrested suspect Ricky Billiones who is also a CAFGU member from Isabela, Negros Occidental.

The Hinigaran policemen recovered P11,958,000 cash in a sack which the suspects left inside the bank premises. Another P102,000 cash was left behind by the robbers in the tricycle along with the two hostages at Barangay Patique.

A caliber .38 revolver was recovered beside Española’s body. Also recovered were empty shells and live ammunition of caliber .9 mm pistol inside the bank and two magazine assembly of M16 Armalite rifle in the abandoned tricycle, two cellphones and a black shoulder bag allegedly belonging to Española.

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, said he went to Hinigaran to lead the investigation on the RCBC robbery.

Cuevas said he learned that the group in the RCBC heist was also tagged in several robberies in Negros Occidental in 2006, a year before the 2007 national and local elections. 

“It is possible that robbery groups will be used in the coming elections. We are watching out for them in terms of intelligence monitoring to prevent more robberies from happening,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said he ordered all intelligence units to remain vigilant following the series of robberies in the region. He also ordered all policemen to be on alert so they can respond to any incidents in their area.

“The good thing about the Hinigaran incident is that the police reacted and chased the suspects until some of them were neutralized and arrested. Our personnel should be alert at all times,” he added.

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