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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

WESTERN Visayas’ top cop sees nothing wrong if police officials in Iloilo City receive money from a politician as long as they don’t pocket the cash.

This was the reaction of Chief Supt. Isagani R. Cuevas, director of the Police Regional Office (PRO-6), to reports that ranking officials of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) received cash from Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. last week.

Among those who went to Gonzalez’s home were ICPO Director Melvin Mongcal and the chiefs of the seven district police stations in the city.

Reports said the police officials received P20,000 cash from Gonzalez during the meeting-cum-Christmas party.  

The report ruffled the feathers of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas who is now mulling a revamp of the ICPO hierarchy.

Treñas, who will run for congressman against Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr., said police officials should refrain from accepting gifts from politicians as these might affect their performance and decisions.

Treñas said he might seek the revamp before the election season begins next month.

But Cuevas said any public official can summon police officers to discuss peace and order matters.

“Public officials like Sec. Gonzalez can meet our officers to give instructions pertaining to peace and order such as illegal drugs and petty crimes. Any public official can do so,” Cuevas said.

As regards the report that ICPO officials received cash, Cuevas said he assumes that the money might be a form of logistical support to the police stations.

“Maybe the money was intended for fuel and other expenses. The station chiefs will have to make liquidation report on how they spent the money given to them,” he said.

But it would be a different story if police officials used the money for personal benefit.

“That’s against our policy especially that we are approaching election season. We prohibit our officers from accepting gifts from politicians,” Cuevas said.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) has provided security personnel to surviving members of the Gulanes family who were ambushed in Jaro, Iloilo City two weeks ago.

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, ICPO director, confirmed reports that Ronielyn Gulanes and her 14-year-old daughter continue to receive threatening text messages.

The threats were believed to be sent by suspects who ambushed the Gulanes family at San Paulo Village in Brgy. Sambag, Jaro around 7am of September 3.

Ronielyn’s husband George died in the ambush after two gunmen fired at their pickup.

“In fact, right the incident we sent police officers to the hospital where the wife is recuperating. We also continue to check the safety of the child who is now in a safer location,” Mongcal said.

Mongcal said the persons who sent the threats might be trying to dissuade the family from cooperating with the police and pursue the criminal cases that will be filed against the mastermind and the gunmen.

Mongcal said the family is still cooperative with the police as the wife has identified one of the gunmen.

“We are just waiting for the wife to sign her sworn affidavit which will become part of our evidence in the filing of the case,” he added.

Mongcal said only close family members are allowed to visit Ronielyn at the hospital. Strict inspection and verification of the visitors’ identities are implemented as part of the security measures.

The Gulanes’s family’s lending business is believed to be the motive for the ambush, according to police investigators.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

IF you can’t follow orders, quit.

 

This is one advice that Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, conveyed to Senior Insp. Virgilio Buena after the latter decried his relief from the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) because of sexual harassment charges.

 

A fuming Cuevas said Buena’s relief from the ICPO and transfer to the Iloilo Provincial Police Office is part of due process the PRO-6 is observing relative to the charges against him.

 

Buena is accused of fondling and inducing a female casual employee of the City government detailed at the LaPaz police station, charges which he denied.

 

Buena had earlier said that he was relieved abruptly based on unfounded accusations spreading via text messages. He also hit the culture of harassment within the ICPO and the PNP which demoralizes lower ranking cops.

 

The former ICPO operations officer even urged non-commissioned police officers to unite against this culture of harassment in the disorganized ICPO.

 

Cuevas shot back at Buena calling the latter an abusive officer for his involvement in numerous controversies.

 

The PRO-6 chief said the decision to remove Buena from ICPO is not his alone but a policy imposed by the PNP organization if one of its officers in facing charges or involved in controversies.

 

Cuevas said Buena should have been relieved by his superior officer, ICPO officer-in-charge, Supt. Eugenio Espejo.

 

“Everybody is covered by this policy and Buena knows that. It’s part of due process because his superior did not act immediately. If he wants due process, he should attend the hearings if a case is filed against him. If he cannot stand the policies of the PRO-6, he can leave the PNP,” Cuevas said.

 

Cuevas said it is normal to relieve police officers who are facing charges so they cannot influence the outcome of the investigation and also to protect the complainant.

 

“It would be hard for the complainant to pursue the case if the accused is keeping a watchful eye on the investigation,” he added.

 

TREÑAS: SHUT UP

 

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told Buena to shut up and stop criticizing the ICPO and the PNP where he belongs.

 

“Whatever he is saying will not help his case. Ang maayo pa maghipos na lang siya (It would be better for him to shut up),” Treñas said.

 

Treñas said he is reviewing the program of assigning casual employees at police stations to do clerical works.

 

The mayor said he wanted policemen to concentrate on their law enforcement duties by patrolling the streets instead of staying in their stations to do office ordinary work.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A JOKE may turn out to be a serious problem for a ranking Iloilo City police official who is facing sexual harassment charges lodged by a non-uniformed personnel assigned at the LaPaz police station.

 

Alias Mika (not her real name) claimed that Senior Insp. Virgilio Buena, operations chief of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), touched her hair, chest and waist inside the office of Senior Insp. Alexander Rosales, LaPaz police officer-in-charge last week.

 

Mika, who is a casual employee hired by City Hall and assigned to do clerical jobs at the LaPaz PNP station, said Buena even asked her personal questions and offered to send her to school.

 

The complainant said she ran out of the office for fear that things will go out of hand.

 

Mika filed her complaint with the Women and Children’s Concern Desk even as her family prepares to lodge formal charges with the prosecutor.

 

Over the weekend, Supt. Eugenio Espejo, ICPO officer-in-charge, said Buena admitted touching Mika’s hair and mole in her chest but denied squeezing or fondling her waist.

 

“Buena also said that what he did was just a joke, lahug-lahug lang,” Espejo said.

 

The Daily Guardian tried to get Buena’s side but he cannot be reached.

 

In an interview over Aksyon Radyo, Mika said Buena did not mention that he was only joking when he made the alleged advances to her.

 

The complainant said they will pursue her case against Buena despite reported efforts by some quarters to amicably settle the incident.

 

Espejo said he will recommend that the Police Regional Office-6 will investigate Buena instead of the ICPO taking the cudgels “to avoid perceptions of a white wash.”

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