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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.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MISFITS in the PNP might be sent to replace cops that were relieved in the aftermath of the Maguindanao massacre in Mindanao, the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) said.

C/Supt. Isagani R. Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said cops in Western Visayas who misbehave might be sent to Maguindanao if they don’t reform their ways.

“They should not be hard headed and behave well for they might be chosen to serve in Maguindanao,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said the PRO-6 is ready to send a team of police officers who will replace their colleagues who were sacked after 57 people were massacred in the heated political rivalry between the Ampatuan and Mangudadatu clans.

“If the headquarters requests that we send a team to Maguindanao, we have ready personnel to be dispatched in the area. But I hope that policemen in Western Visayas will not be chosen to replace the relieved officers,” Cuevas said, apparently concerned with the political tension in Maguindanao.

PNP Chief Jesus Verzosa ordered the relief of the entire Maguindanao Provincial Police Office (PPO) personnel to pave the way for an impartial investigation on the Maguindanao massacre.

According to C/Supt. Leonardo Espina, PNP spokesman, more or less 1,000 Maguindanao policemen would be replaced.

Some police officers in Maguindanao are believed involved in the massacre which also claimed the lives of 30 journalists.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) and various fraternities in Iloilo City sued for peace through a tree planting activity in San Joaquin, Iloilo Sunday.

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, ICPO director, said the activity is designed to promote camaraderie and goodwill among police officers and various fraternities that are sometimes involved in bloody rumbles.

Around 60 police officers and members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT), Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Alpha Kappa Rho (AKRHO) and Scout Royale Brotherhood (SRB) Fraternities went to Brgy. Bolobogo, a village 20 kilometers from San Joaquin.

The tree planting was organized by the ICPO’s Police Community Relations Section. A total of 60 mahogany seedlings were planted in a hilly portion of the barangay.

The participants then ate lunch a la “boodle fight,” a military style of eating with bare hands food placed on a long table covered with banana leaves.

The tree planting activity is the second project initiated by the ICPO involving different fraternities in Iloilo City.  The first one was conducted last July 2009 involving the same fraternities. 

“This endeavor aims to restore our natural resources and to organize our fraternities and to channel their efforts into more developmental and wholesome activities that will promote solidarity, camaraderie and enhance better interrelationships between and among fraternities,” Mongcal said.

Comelec, PNP validating risk areas

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the PNP will start identifying so-called election hotspots in the region.

Atty. Dennis Ausan, Comelec director in Western Visayas, said the move is to prevent another poll-related incident similar to the Maguindanao massacre. As of yesterday, 52 persons were confirmed killed in the gruesome incident.

Ausan said the PNP is helping them validate the lists of possible election areas of concern in the region after these were submitted by provincial and city police offices in Western Visayas to the Police Regional Office (PRO-6).

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said they will release the final list after they have studied and assessed the reports of their subordinate units.

The list of hotspots is normally made public during the start of the campaign season but the Comelec and the PNP might publicized it early after what happened in Maguindanao.

The election period officially starts January 10, 2010.

Election hotspots are identified in two categories: Category 1 pertains to areas where the possibility of election-related violent incidents (ERVI) is high; Category 2 areas have a history of ERVIs, intense political rivalries and high probability of occurrence of ERVIs with participation of private armed groups and rebel groups.

ERVIs are incidents which could affect or disrupt the electoral proceedings in the area or create a form of political tension that could eventually upset the electoral process, not only in the site of the incident but also in the surrounding areas during election days.

Aside from drawing up the election areas of concern, the PRO-6 is also keeping tabs of politicians who hire private armies and horde illegal firearms.

Cuevas also advised journalists who will cover areas with intense political rivalries to coordinate with the PNP so they can be provided protection.

“The police will be ready to provide them with security personnel if our media practitioners make the request,” Cuevas said.

At least 18 journalists were confirmed killed in the massacre allegedly perpetrated by the Ampatuan clan against members of the Mangudadatu family.

The journalists were supposed to cover the filing of the certificate of candidacy of Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao who will run for governor versus Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A MEMBER of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was shot Tuesday evening in Jaro, Iloilo City.

PO3 Job J. Lujan, 36, of Sitio Little Janiuay, Brgy Tabuc-Suba was wounded in his nose after a gunman shot him with a caliber .38 revolver around 8:30pm the other day.

He was rushed to St. Paul’s Hospital for treatment.

Lujan was standing outside their house gate when he was shot. According to a son of the victim, Lujan was talking to three persons before the incident.

Lujan’s colleagues at the CIDG said the shooting may have something to do with their recent operation against an illegal video karera operator in the city.

Jaro police investigators recovered a live caliber .38 bullet from the crime scene.

Reports from the Iloilo City Police Office identified the gunman as a certain Rusty Jablo of Brgy. Cubay, Jaro.

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, ICPO director, ordered the Jaro police and the Iloilo City Mobile Group to chase and arrest Jablo.

MACHINE PISTOL RECOVERED

A BOUNCER of a popular nightspot in Iloilo City turned over a machine pistol to the Mandurrio police Tuesday afternoon.

Glen Erezuela, 28, bouncer of MO2 Ice Bar in Smallville complex called the Mandurriao police to report that an unidentified person left a firearm in his custody.

PO2 Ariel Eres of the Mandurriao PNP went to the area around 2:30pm in response to the call.

Eres then took custody of a caliber .9mm machine pistol with serial number 360495. The gun also bore the markings “Cobrayo, Macio RPB Engram .9mm Military Armament Corp. Marrieta GA  30082 USA.”

The gun, which will be submitted to the Crime Laboratory for ballistic tests, has a steel magazine with Cobrayo marking and seven live bullets.

Public losing confidence on city cops over Basag Kotse gang

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) can overhaul the entire Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) if the City Hall wants it.

C/Supt. Isagani R. Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) in Negros Occidental has around 1,000 members who can be deployed to Iloilo City.

PRO-6 also has enough junior police commissioned officers (inspectors to chief inspectors) who can take over the 6 district police stations in the metropolis.

Calls for the revamp of the 500-strong ICPO headed by S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal echo as the city cops remain helpless in curbing the Basag Kotse gang preying on car owners in the city.

As of latest count, car thieves have already victimized 31 cars since February this year.

The latest Basag Kotse victim was an engineer who lost around P300,000 worth of valuables to suspects who smashed the glass window of his car parked inside a mall in Mandurriao district.

Cuevas said 500 RMG officers who finished their training can be readily deployed to Iloilo City.

Some of the RMG members served for 6 months in Jolo, Sulu at the height of the kidnapping of three Red Cross workers.

But Cuevas said it is the Iloilo City government that must request for the revamp of the entire ICPO force.

“Mayor Jerry Treñas can request for the relief of the entire force. The request must include an assessment to back up the request. We have to follow some rules and regulations particularly on the assignment and transfer of personnel as local officials have operational and administrative control over the police,” Cuevas said.

What will happen to the old ICPO force if the revamp happens?

Cuevas said they might be sent for retraining at the RMG headquarters as part of their thrust to reorient PNP officers on their work.

Despite the possible changes in his command, Mongcal still has the support of the PRO-6.

“We will still support S/Supt. Mongcal in everything he will do. That is our work here. We will give him all the resources he wants and all he has to do is check on his personnel to make sure that they execute their mission,” he added.

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.”

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE firearms amnesty program of the PNP has been extended until November 30.

Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) Director, S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal said the extension began Friday, November 6, following the issuance of the pertinent memorandum order.

The government’s Last and Final General Firearms Amnesty Program aims to recover 1,110,372 loose firearms in the country.

The amnesty took effect July 7, 2009 after President Gloria Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 817 and the extension became effective after Arroyo issued Executive Order 817-A dated October 30 that moved the deadline of the Final General Firearms Amnesty up to November 30.

The extended deadline was brought about by the request of some firearm owners for more time to process their applications, especially in areas badly hit by typhoons.

A total of 52,759 loose guns (unregistered guns and gun with expired permits) are circulating in the region but only 7,788 were accounted via the amnesty.

Mongcal said the ICPO is conducting information drive to let the public know about the amnesty extension.

“They should avail of this last opportunity to register or renew their gun licenses without the penalties and at a minimum registration fee of more or less P1,000,” Mongcal said, adding the ICPO will continue to confiscate illegal firearms as part of the PNP’s “Kontra Boga” drive.

EO 817-A also sought to synchronize the amnesty program to the impending passage of House Bill 6776 (Amendment to Firearms law) which would impose stiffer penalties against illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

OVER 7,000 of the more than 50,000 loose firearms in Western Visayas were accounted or recovered during the national government’s general firearms amnesty which expired last October 31. The amnesty aimed to encourage gun owners to register their firearms and reduce the number of loose guns come the 2010 elections.

Records from the Firearms Security Agencies and Guards Supervision (Fesags) office showed that 7,788 firearms with expired or no license were accounted, a measly 8% of the estimated 52,759 loose guns in the region.

Of the total firearms accounted, 2,359 are unlicensed while 5,426 have expired licenses.

PRO-6 records show that 29,440 firearms have expired licenses while 23,319 unlicensed guns are possessed by individuals and criminal groups.

There have been reports that President Gloria Arroyo extended for another month the gun amnesty program to significantly reduce loose guns in the country.

But the PRO-6 has yet to receive a memorandum order relative to the extension of the amnesty.

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, earlier ordered PNP units in the region to recover one loose gun a week.

Cuevas advised gun owners who want to register their firearms to prepare the needed documents in anticipation of the amnesty extension.

The Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies (GIIS) reported that a total of 1,110,372 loose firearms (small arms and light weapons) are circulating in the Philippines.

The GIIS also said small arms and light weapons are responsible for over half a million deaths each year, including 300,000 in armed conflicts.

Statistics from the PNP national headquarters show that there are 1,110,372 loose firearms all over the country with the biggest concentration of unlicensed firearms estimated at 315,128 in the National Capital Region (NCR), including 263,457 un-renewed licenses.

The second highest number of loose firearms placed at 114,189 is in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where an active rebellion is being waged by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

Region 4A has the third highest number of loose firearms totaling 101,758, followed by Central Luzon, 78,151; Central Mindanao, 62,718; Western Visayas, 52,759; Central Visayas, 52,732; Davao provinces, 49,178; Southwestern Mindanao, 45,974; Caraga Region, 43,960; Eastern Visayas, 43,409; Northern Mindanao, 42,231; Cagayan Valley, 32,326; Bicol Region, 28,587; Ilocos Region, 26,928; Cordillera Region, 11,628; and the lowest in Region 4B (Palawan and Mindoro), 8,779.

Director General Jesus Verzosa, PNP chief, said that from 2004 to 2008, 97.7% of gun-related crimes involved loose firearms, making the Philippines 10th in gun homicide rates worldwide.

Greenbelt heist suspects  planned to sell loot in WV 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

POLICE officers in Western Visayas are on their toes for the remaining members of the Alvin Flores gang who robbed a watch shop inside a posh shopping mall in Makati City last October 18.

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, said they continue to monitor and verify information that members of the robbery gang might seek refuge in the region.

Cuevas said they will make sure that none of the suspected robbers will lie low in any part of Western Visayas following the death of their leader, Alvin Flores, in Cebu last week.

Four gang members, including Flores, were killed in a shootout with agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at Sitio Lutao Marikina, Brgy. Estaca, Compostela Thursday night.

Aside from Flores, Ritchie Gigante Hijapon, Mark Alejandro Bondoc Salamanca, and Roger Sanchez also died in the gun battle.

The Alvin Flores gang is being tagged in the October 18 Greenbelt 5 robbery in Makati City. The suspects carted away an estimated P8 million worth of Rolex watches.

One of the gang members was killed in a shootout with the bodyguards of Taguig Mayor Sigfredo “Freddie” Tinga.

In an interview with Aksyon Radyo, an NBI agent who joined in the operation against Flores’ group, claimed that the robbery gang planned to sell their loot in the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.

The NBI in Cebu said six members are still roaming the province or other areas of the region.

Medardo de Lemos, NBI director in Central Visayas, said of the 11 suspects who staged the heist in Rolex store in Makati, five have either been killed or arrested.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE former village chief accused of being part of the Bukas Kotse gang posted bail for his temporary liberty.

Sergio Dava, former punong barangay of Zaragoza, Bugasong, Antique, posted bail after he was charged with robbery in IS Number VI-10-INV-095-606 dated October 24, 2009.

Dava was arrested October 22 for allegedly robbing the car of Ava Delgado inside the Central Philippine University (CPU) in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Dava quit his post as barangay captain for alleged malversation of public funds.

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director, warned the public to be wary of Dava now that he is out of detention.

“The public, particularly car owners, are advised not to leave valuables inside their parked vehicles such as laptops, cellphones, big amounts of cash and the like as these attract robbers,” Mongcal said.

Mongcal said leaflets with tips on “How not to fall victims to Basag Kotse” were distributed to the media and to the public.  

The Bukas Kotse gang has victimized 28 cars since February 2009.

Meanwhile, the LaPaz police headed by S/Insp. Alexander Rosales nabbed one of the most wanted persons in the district.

A team of LaPaz police led by SPO2 Reynaldo Tanchinco arrested the person of Anthony Porto, 34, of Brgy Aguinaldo Monday morning.

Porto has a pending arrest warrant for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

Judge Victor Gelvezon of the Regional Trial Court Branch 36 issued the warrant on Porto.

According to Rosales, Porto is the 5th most wanted person in LaPaz district.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MEMBERS of the 6thRegional Mobile Group (RMG) who were dispatched to Jolo, Sulu are heroes, not bad eggs.

This was the reaction of the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) to a report in a tabloid (not The Daily Guardian) that the RMG contingent sent to Sulu was composed of cops with “various infractions.”

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, denied the report in a statement Tuesday.

“Most of our contingents were neophyte police. They have just finished their course on Special Counter-Insurgency Operations Unit Training (SCOUT) when the national headquarters directed us to send one company to augment the forces in Mindanao,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said the RMG personnel were sent to Jolo on April 10, 2009 when the Abu Sayyaff Group (ASG) kidnapped three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“They are heroes, not bad eggs,” Cuevas said.

The RMG contingent also formed part of Task Force Bandit in Jolo from April 10 to October 22.

The 75 cops arrived in Iloilo Sunday evening with tears welling in their eyes after their “tough” 6-month assignment in Mindanao.

Police Director Ray Roderos, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Visayas, and Cuevas led the welcome party for the cops.

On Monday, Roderos and Cuevas awarded medals to the RMG contingent for their achievements in Mindanao.

S/Insp. Jerry H. Abrogina, the contingent’s team leader, and four other officers received the Mindanao Campaign Medal and Medalya ng Kasanayan.

The 70 Police Non-Commissioned Officers (PNCOs) got Medalya ng Papuri (PNP Commendation Medal) “for their participation in weakening the Abu Sayyaff Group (ASG) forces which eventually led to the release of the kidnapped ICRC volunteers, destruction of ASG camps in the area, recovery of various firearms  and ammunitions, and confiscation of several motorboats and vehicles used in kidnapping activities.”

Roderos considered the contingents as heroes for their showing of dedication and bravery in risking their lives in the service of the people of Mindanao and of the country.

POSTHUMOUS AWARD

PRO-6 also recognized the late PO1 Jonel C. Aficionado who died last June 14 while in Sulu.

Aficionado’s wife Lenne Beth received the Medalya ng Papuri.

After Mindanao, the PRO6 contingents will continue its anti-insurgency campaign with the 6RMG in Negros Occidental.

“Most of the contingents have yet to finish the two-year minimum service in the mobile group,” Cuevas explained.

Neophyte police officers, including graduates of Philippine National Police Academy, are required to render duty for at least two years in mobile groups.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

FOUR suspects armed with pistols snatched more or less P80,000 cash from a construction firm in Mandurriao, Iloilo Friday afternoon.

Personnel of JJM Builders at Brgy. Hibao-an Sur, Mandurriao were preparing the payroll for their employees when they noticed a motorcycle stop in front of their office past 4pm.

Jude Landar, JJM administrative officer, said he locked the office’s front door as he was suspicious of the motorcycle.

But he was surprised when the three persons entered the backdoor and ordered them to give their money.

When Landar looked at the direction of the men, he was already staring at the barrel of a caliber .45 pistol.

Landar said the suspects then went to his officemate who was counting the payroll money and grabbed the cash.

The suspects also took Landar’s P3,000 personal money and cellphone.

A fourth suspect, possibly the lookout, entered the office and told the other suspects to flee.

They boarded two motorcycles towards the town of Pavia.

Landar said the two of the suspects wore bandanas around their head while another was wearing a jacket.

The suspects were between 30-40 years old.

The robbery happened a day after C/Insp. Conrado Carganillo assumed the helm of the Mandurriao police station.

The Iloilo City Police Office reshuffled the chiefs of city police precincts following the rash of bukas kotse and robbery incidents.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A FORMER village chief in Antique resigned from his post and ended up as a car thief.

Sergio Dava, 31, ex-punong barangay of Zaragoza, Bugasong in Antique, was arrested Thursday evening by security guards of the Central Philippine University (CPU) in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Dava was caught entering a room at the 3rd Floor of the Nursing Building of the said university which is hosting the 14th University Games.

According to the Jaro police station, Dava is believed to be behind 10 cases of thefts in the said university.

Dava’s latest victim was Ava Delgado, 49, of Brgy Dungon A Jaro, Iloilo City who lost her valuables inside her cars.

The police recovered from Dava’s possession assorted credit and ATM cards and the wallet owned by Delgado.

Also recovered from Dava were bank and identification cards of a certain Mannin F. Cordero.

Dava said he quit as punong barangay of Zaragoza, Bugasong in Antique for alleged malversation of funds.

Dava said he was forced to steal to pay for pension houses and hotels in Iloilo City where he is staying.

C/Insp. Orly Gabinete, Jaro police chief, led follow-up operation in four pension houses where Dava stayed.

Gabinete said they recovered more personal belongings owned by Dava’s victims.

The Jaro police believe that Dava is a member of the notorious Bukas Kotse gang operating in Iloilo City.

But Dava said he is not a member of any criminal gang preying on cars. He said he only picks the lock of cars, unlike the Bukas Kotse gang which smashes car windows to carry out the heist.

Dava is presently detained at the Jaro police station.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

IS Chief Insp. Musa Amiyong on his way back to Western Visayas?

This question percolated in the media when a PNP special order surfaced yesterday directing the reassignment of Amiyong, former Iloilo City police intelligence czar, to Region 6.

The supposed special order issued this month was signed by police Director Abner Cabalquinto, head of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management.

The special order suspended the assignment of Amiyong to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU) in Camp Crame.

From Camp Crame, Amiyong was detailed to the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) in Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City.

Amiyong was relieved from the Iloilo City Police Office as intelligence section chief effective July 27, 2009 through Special Order No. 2384. He was then ordered to report to PHAU.

PRO-6 Director Isagani Cuevas has yet to confirm or deny Amiyong’s reassignment to Western Visayas.

Amiyong was transferred from Iloilo City upon recommendation of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) headed by Police Director Raul Bacalzo.

Reports from the police community said Amiyong was tagged in the death of PO1 Frederick Capasao, a former member of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, in 2007.

Amiyong was also dragged in the alleged pilferage of fuel used by contractors of the Iloilo Flood Control Project. He was also accused of shooting two youngsters in General Luna Street, Iloilo City last August 13, 2008.

Amiyong had denied all the charges against him.

Sources from the Iloilo City Hall and PRO-6 said a powerful politician moved for Amiyong’s return to Region 6 by threatening to hold the PNP budget next year.

Amiyong has been linked to the group of Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr.

But Gonzalez said Amiyong only provided security assessments and recommendations.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

FOUR suspected robbers were killed in a shootout with the PNP’s 608th Iloilo Provincial Mobile Group (IPMG) in a resort in San Dionisio, Iloilo 7pm Thursday.

Three of the four suspects have been identified – Eric Alminar, Sonny Madriaga and Reynold Romawak – all of Bagong Silang, Caloocan City.

S/Supt. Ricardo dela Paz, Iloilo provincial police director, said the suspects robbed Chinese trader Tee Wee Zhang in Sara town proper around 6pm.

The suspects took P20,000 cash and cellphones from the store, according to Supt. Ipil Dueñas, 608th IPMG director.

The suspects engaged the 608th IPMG in a resort in Brgy. Nipa, San Dionisio at around 7pm.

Dueñas said they learned of the suspects’ whereabouts through tips from civilians whom the fleeing suspects almost ran over.

Dueñas said the suspects fired at their team, forcing them to retaliate.

Recovered from the suspects were two caliber .38 revolvers, 1 caliber .45 pistol and a hand grenade.

Dueñas said the slain suspects could be members of the Commando robbery group operating in Manila. He based his findings on the musang (mouse deer) tattoos found on the suspects.

C/Supt. Isagani, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, said the death of the four suspected robbers validated earlier reports that members of crime groups were spotted in Iloilo.

Cuevas said the information from the tipster and quick reaction of the police led to the neutralization of the suspects.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) will not re-install a special police task force that will oversee peace and order in the alleged drug haven in Iloilo City.

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said there is no need to reinstall Task Force Bakhaw at Bry. Bakhaw, Mandurriao district even if it has become the purported sanctuary of criminals in the city.

Cuevas said the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) can handle the peace and order concerns of Bakhaw.

The PDEA has classified Bakhaw as one of the drug havens in the city because of the presence of an alleged illegal drugs syndicate in the village.

The village has also been the subject of numerous anti-drug raids by PDEA and PNP. The latest operation netted five suspects caught in the middle of a pot session inside a suspected drug den.

Arrested were Boyet Lupina, 40, owner of the raided house; Merwin Granzon, 30, of Brgy. Tabuc Suba, Jaro and three minors.

Cuevas said they have received reports that members of the Bukas Kotse gang and other thieves hide in Bakhaw.

Cuevas said these car thieves are also drug users, snatchers and robbers who shifted to another strategy to earn money.

During the recent PDEA raid, a pickup truck believed to be used in Bukas Kotse operations was spotted near the alleged drug den.

The owner of the pickup truck is a businesswoman who operates a restaurant in Iloilo City. She has denied allegations that her vehicle is being used by car thieves operating in the metropolis.

Task Force Bakhaw was first formed during the time of then Iloilo City Police Office director Norlito Bautista because of the rampant illegal drugs trade in the village.

The task force was later disbanded following allegations that its members were in cahoots with suspected drug peddlers.

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.

IBP president cries foul on cop’s Bukas Kotse revelation

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Iloilo Chapter challenged the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) to substantiate claims that a lawyer is coddling members of the Bukas Kotse gang.

Atty. Marven Daquilanea, IBP-Iloilo president, said it is unfair for the police to declare that a lawyer is protecting the notorious car thieves.

“I felt slighted when I learned about the news. It is unfair for the police characterize one of our colleagues to be a coddler of that gang without identifying that lawyer and presenting any proof,” Daquilanea said in a phone interview.

Last Thursday, S/Supt. Edgar Layon, PRO-6 chief of directorial staff, was quoted in a radio and newspaper interview as saying that a lawyer, a mediaman and a businessman are protecting the Bukas Kotse gang.

Layon was quoted to have cited intelligence reports as basis for his statements although he did not identify the alleged coddlers.

Daquilanea said there are more than 870 IBP members in Iloilo whose reputations are at stake after the police tagged one of them as a protector of thieves.

“If they are not sure about the information, which is based on raw intelligence, they could have just said three persons are suspected of protecting the Bukas Kotse gang. The police should have not characterized these suspects without any solid proof. Even if this information is true, it is only lawyer against more than 870 others, so why drag the whole community in a state of suspense,” Daquilanea said.

Daquilanea said the word “coddler” also undermines their work as lawyers as they extend legal assistance to suspected criminals.

“Regardless the status of our clients, we are morally and legally obliged to help them even if they are guilty. The police should have qualified what kind of protection is being given by this lawyer to the Bukas Kotse gang – financial, material, whatever. If we give legal aid to persons supposed to be involved with this gang, are we technically in cahoots with them? That is unfair,” he added.

Daquilanea said the PRO-6 should gather proof and file cases against the alleged Bukas Kotse gang protectors “to clear the air of any doubts and rumors.”

“If they have proof, they should file cases and arrest these persons. If they don’t have any evidence, they’d better keep their silence until they are certain with their pronouncements. If we are just out to embarrass or ridicule other people sans any proof, we might as well shut up,” Daquilanea said.

Lea Lara, Iloilo Business Club (IBC) executive director, said they are also troubled by the information that filtered out from PRO-6.

“It’s bad for business, especially us local investors. We are asking the authorities to prosecute and identify these persons if they are really involved to clear things up. We are very much affected by this news,” Lara said.

MISQUOTED

Layon yesterday said he was misquoted in the radio and newspaper items. He said the interviewees asked a leading question if the aforementioned persons are protecting car thieves.

“I answered maybe but the information did not come directly from me. I did not confirm it,” Layon said.

Layon made the disclaimer after C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, summoned him to clarify the report.

Cuevas said they have no information as regards the involvement of a lawyer, a businessman and a mediaman with the Bukas Kotse gang that has been plaguing the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.

Layon said he will not anymore grant media interviews following the fiasco.

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.

Ceres robbers ‘knew exactly where to go’

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE robbery of the remittance office of a bus line operator in Jaro, Iloilo City Monday evening might be an “inside job,” investigators said.

A group of 10-12 armed suspects carted away some P300,000 cash from the office of Vallacar Transit, operator of Ceres Bus Liner, at Brgy. Buhang, Jaro past 7 pm the other day.

Employees of the bus company said the suspects were on board a white Starex van and wielded M16 Armalite rifles, Uzi submachine gun and pistols.  

The van entered the Vallacar compound with ease as the gate was open while some of the guards on duty were having dinner.

Based on the accounts of Analou Fernandez, Vallacar supervisor, three suspects went inside the main office and hauled the money from the cashier. One of the suspects was disguised as a uniformed bus conductor.  The other robbers neutralized the security guards and served as lookout in and out of the compound.

The suspects also tried to forcibly open the safety vault containing P200,000 cash by shooting the lock with a 12-gauge shotgun but they failed.   

The remittance office is fashioned out of old Ceres buses, the same place where a former conductor held hostage several employees two months ago.

Apparently, the suspects struck at the time when Ceres bus conductors have just remitted their collections for the day. Some of the robbers wore ball caps while others donned masks.

Aside from the collection money, the suspects also took away the personal belongings and cash of Vallacar employees and the firearms of the four security guards on duty.

Fernandez said the suspects moved in a swift and organized manner knowing exactly where to go. The heist was over in more or less five minutes.

The suspects fled towards the municipality of Leganes. The ICPO asked help from the Iloilo Provincial Police Office to set up checkpoints in adjacent towns but they failed to net the suspects.

C/Insp. Orly Gabinete, Jaro police chief, said the suspects may have inside information on where the money was kept and when to strike.

“The suspects are certainly professionals. They moved quickly and knew where to go,” Gabinete said.

S/Supt. Melvin Moncal, ICPO director, ordered the deployment of the Special Weapons and Tactics team around the city following the heist.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) is investigating an alleged cover up in the death of a police officer assigned in Pototan, Iloilo City.

S/Supt Edgar Layon, PRO-6 chief of directorial staff, said the probe into the death of PO1 Overt Glen Pagayon triggered by a complaint of his family cast doubts on the Pototan PNP’s investigation.

The complaint was addressed to C/Supt Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director. It detailed the alleged cover up in Pagayon’s case.

Pagayon was found dead August 10, 2009 at their house in Brgy Purog, Pototan. His wife said the cop died of bangungot or acute pancreatitis. This is echoed by the investigation result of SPO1 John Pasaporte of Pototan PNP

But one of Pagayon’s sisters asked Dr. Owen Lebaquin, PNP medico legal officer, to conduct a thorough autopsy on the cop’s body.

Pagayon’s sister was surprised when his wife requested Lebaquin to limit the autopsy on the police officer’s chest and abdomen.

When Lebaquin insisted that he will also look into Pagayon’s head, the wife asked the medico legal officer to examine the head through a small hole.

Lebaquin’s autopsy report later said that Pagayon died of head injuries possibly from a blunt object, not bangungot as claimed by the Pototan PNP.

Pagayon’s family said SPO1 Pasaporte also questioned Lebaquin’s findings and even cited some cases where the medico legal officer yielded wrong results.

The PRO-6 summoned S/Insp Romar Peregil, Pototan PNP chief, and Pasaporte to Camp Delgado.

Only Pasaporte showed up at Layon’s office to explain his side but he failed to show any investigation report on Pagayon’s death.

Layon said Pasaporte and Pagayon’s wife could be charged with obstruction of justice if proven that they connived to hide the cop’s real cause of death.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE police officer who shot to death a Bangladeshi national Thursday morning did not violate the PNP rules of engagement.

PO3 Vicente Silla, pre-charge investigator of the Provincial Internal Affairs Service (PIAS), said PO1 Alvin Alcolea was only protecting himself when he shot Muhammed Zahir Hossain.

Hossain shot dead his second wife Ruby Ann Senato and wounded his mother-in-law Yolanda Senato at Brgy. East Baluarte, Molo, Iloilo City Thursday morning.

Alcolea and two other police officers responded to the incident and cornered Hossain who fled towards Brgy. Timawa, Molo.

Based on his own investigation, Silla said some witnesses saw Hossain fire at the pursuing policemen. They also heard Alcolea warning the Bangladeshi that he will shoot if the suspect flees.

Silla said Alcolea did the right thing “because the suspect was holding a gun and even shot two persons prior to the hot pursuit.”

A bullet from Alcolea’s caliber .45 pistol fell Hossain who died at the Saviour International Hospital past 8am Thursday.

Silla said Alcolea might have intended to disable Hossain’s arms but the latter got hit in the chest.

S/Insp. Danilo delos Santos, Molo police chief, said Alcolea did not plan to kill Hossain.

“When Alcolea’s team responded, they scattered to corner the Bangladeshi. It so happened that Alcolea spotted Hossain who fired his gun twice. The initial intention was to shoot the suspect’s shoulder but his chest caught the bullet,” delos Santos said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE chief of police of Mandurriao, Iloilo City was relieved from his post following the probe on allegations that he indiscriminately fired his gun inside a popular restaurant bar in Smallville complex the other day.

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director, ordered the relief of C/Insp. Salvador Dagoon as Mandurriao PNP station commander effective Wednesday afternoon.

Replacing Dagoon is C/Insp. Elizer Baclagon who was previously assigned at the ICPO headquarters.

Dagoon was required to report to the ICPO headquarters pending the investigation conducted by the Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) on his alleged actuations inside MO2 Bar and Restaurant early Wednesday morning.

The MO2 management complained that Dagoon fired his gun inside the establishment after refusing to be frisked by security guards.

Dagoon said he went to MO2 to validate reports that security personnel and waiters maul consumers who don’t foot their bills or involved in melees inside the bar.

Dagoon said he was piqued by the arrogant behavior of the security guard who tried to frisk him. He admitted that he was drunk when he entered the MO2 premises.

Mongcal said the relief is not a penalty on Dagoon but is only meant to ensure a smooth and fair investigation on the incident.

The RIAS initiated a motu propio (on its own initiative) investigation on the incident because it involved indiscriminate firing.

PO3 Vicente Silla of RIAS, who is spearheading the initial investigation, said they can subject Dagoon to summary hearing if they find probable cause to file administrative charges against him.

Mongcal also ordered an investigation on the incident.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE top police officer in Mandurriao district, Iloilo City is under investigation for allegedly firing his gun inside a bar in Smallville complex early morning Wednesday.

C/Insp. Salvador Dagoon is the subject of a motu propio investigation by the Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) spearheaded by PO3 Vicente Silla.

The probe was triggered by an altercation between Dagoon and security personnel and staff of MO2 Bar and Restaurant around 1am Wednesday.

According to the blotter report filed by the MO2 personnel, Dagoon, who was wearing civilian clothes, resisted when a security guard tried to frisk him as part of their security measure.

After some discussion, Dagoon entered the bar and fired his gun twice. He then proceeded to the MO2 Ice disco club and ordered some drinks.

The MO2 personnel said Dagoon ordered his subordinates to take security guard Fredinel Lobaton into custody for lack of appropriate licenses.

Lobaton, who was released yesterday, works for the security agency owned by the son of C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PNP regional director.

Dagoon said he resisted the security guard who tried to frisk him because of the guard’s arrogant approach.

“The guard was arrogant when he approached me. They even mobbed me. We have been orienting them to be courteous in dealing with their customers,” he said.

Dagoon said he went to MO2 to conduct a covert investigation on allegations that the bar’s security personnel and staff maul customers who don’t pay their bills or involved in rumbles.

He said he did not introduce himself to the security guards to avoid blowing his cover.   

“We have been receiving a lot of reports regarding the actuations of the security guards and waiters. Some of their victims are professionals who don’t deserve to be maltreated. My presence was part of my work as a police officer,” Dagoon added.

Dagoon said he already had several drinks before he entered MO2.

PO3 Silla said they are conducting the investigation sans a formal complaint because one of the charges against Dagoon is indiscriminate firing of his issued firearm.

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal advised Dagoon to face the investigation even as he assured that the probe will be fair to all parties involved.

Mongcal also cautioned police officers to maintain decorum and proper behavior whether they are on or off duty.

“Disorderly acts are prohibited by existing regulations. Any violation will be subject to administrative charges,” he added.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A CONTROVERSIAL police officer is mulling suits against his superiors for alleged persecution when he was suspended for 90 days despite the dismissal of administrative charges filed against him.

C/Insp. Leroy Rapiz, former director of the 608th Provincial Mobile Group (PMG), said he is in talks with his lawyer Tranquilino Gale as regards possible countersuits against his superiors.

Rapiz said he felt abandoned and persecuted by his superior officers when persons identified with former mayor Neptali Salcedo Sr. of Sara, Iloilo filed administrative cases against him last year.

The cases stemmed from the series of random checkpoints conducted by Rapiz middle of last year in the 5th congressional district.

Salcedo alleged in the media that Rapiz harassed him in a checkpoint July 7, 2008 aside from causing “fear and terror” in their town during such operations.

On December 11, 2008, upon orders of the PNP national command, C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, tasked the Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) to conduct a pre-charge investigation on the incident.

IPPO director Ricardo dela Paz recommended on December 16, 2008 that Rapiz be cleared of any liability because the random checkpoints were regular and conducted in compliance with PNP regulations.

Cuevas approved dela Paz’s report December 19, 2008. On January 22, 2009, he sent a memorandum to the PNP national command informing the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management that there was no probable cause against Rapiz.

But the PNP Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) then headed by Supt. Emmanuel Ughoc conducted a motu propio (Latin for “on its initiative”) investigation into Rapiz’s case.

The RIAS invoked Section 39 of Republic Act 8551 (Philippine National Police Law) and National Police Commission Memorandum Circular No. 2007-001 in investigating Rapiz.

On March 4, 2009, the RIAS found probable cause to investigate Rapiz for alleged abuse of authority and recommended his 90-day preventive suspension which Cuevas approved May 25, 2009.

Gale appealed Rapiz’s case before the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) in Camp Crame saying the IPPO already absolved his client of all charges even before the RIAS conducted the probe and enforced the suspension.

Gale said that under the principle of exclusive jurisdiction, RIAS-6 can no longer intervene because the IPPO already took cognizance of the case.

In a resolution issued July 23, 2009, Police Director Jaime Tagaca, IAS deputy inspector, ordered the lifting of the preventive suspension against Rapiz.

Gale had requested the PRO-6 Legal Service to lift Rapiz’s suspension in a letter dated August 6.

Latest reports from Camp Delgado said Cuevas has yet to receive Tagaca’s resolution although the Regional Personnel and Human Resources Development Division and RIAS have received copies of the resolution.

Cuevas said he will wait for a copy of the resolution before acting on the request.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE chief of the PNP Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) in Western Visayas was transferred to Cebu for allegedly soliciting donations and dried fish from fellow cops.

Supt. Emmanuel Ughoc, RIAS regional director, confirmed that their central office transferred him to Central Visayas effective Monday.

Ughoc will serve as deputy chief of RIAS in Region 7 which is headed by C/Supt Jessor Arguelles.

Reports said Ughoc was relieved from his post because of the donation box inside the RIAS office in Camp Delgado.

Ughoc was also the subject of an anonymous complaint accusing of him of soliciting dried fish and squid from police officers assigned in northern Iloilo.

Ughoc denied asking dried fish from police officers seeking clearances from RIAS although he admitted the presence of the donation box inside their office.

“I did not ask nor receive dried fish from anyone. As regards the donation box, it was already there before I was assigned here,” Ughoc said.

Ughoc said he allowed the presence of the donation box because the P6,000 monthly operations budget allocated to their office is not enough.

“Sometimes, the personnel have to shell out money for supplies because P6,000 is not enough for one month,” he added.

Ughoc said they do not force police officers who transact with RIAS to donate to their office.

RIAS investigates administrative cases filed against police officers. It also issues clearances to cops who will retire or apply for promotion.

C/Supt Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, challenged the anonymous complainants to surface and execute a complaint affidavit against Ughoc.

“A formal complaint must be filed against Supt Ughoc to give justice to all parties. That will give the complainant the chance to present his evidence and Ughoc the opportunity to defend his name,” Cuevas said.

PRO-6 officials who asked not to be quoted said Ughoc’s relief may have something to do with sensational cases handled by RIAS-6.

Before Ughoc’s transfer, RIAS-6 was investigating the administrative charges filed by Estancia Mayor Restituto Mosqueda against S/Insp. Leroy Rapiz.

The case stemmed from a near shootout between Mosqueda and Rapiz in a barangay fiesta.

Mosqueda asked RIAS-6 to preventively suspend Rapiz for 90 days but Ughoc did not grant the plea.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

NINE more high school students were caught in a fraternity hazing in Sara, Iloilo.

The students are now undergoing counseling by the Sara Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD) office.

Sara National High School principal Lolita Dato-on brought the students to police custody after they were caught in the middle of a hazing rite.

But the Sara police cannot file criminal cases against the students because they are still minors, thus they were recommended to undergo counseling.

The Department of Education (DepEd) in Iloilo has raised concerns over the spate of hazing activities involving public high school students.

Dr. Raymundo Lapating, DepEd Iloilo superintendent, has tasked an investigating body to look into the incidents.

Last July 9, the Maasin police arrested seven high school students who were in the middle of a hazing activity at Brgy. Bagacay East.

The police in Dingle also collared 15 students of the Iloilo State College of Fisheries (ISCOF) Dingle campus also for participating in fraternity hazing.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

POLICE have a free hand on what to do with the alleged kidnap for ransom (KFR) group that was spotted in Iloilo City.

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, said he ordered intelligence operatives to verify and confirm the presence of the KFR group in the metropolis.

Text messages circulated in the city since last week regarding a group of men roaming the city onboard a Mitsubishi Delica van. The suspicious-looking men were also said to be using a sedan and another van in their “surveillance” operations.

Cuevas said police officers who will confirm and spot these alleged kidnappers will deal with the suspects accordingly.

City Hall sources said an unidentified Ilonggo-Chinese businessman reportedly sought the help of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas after he spotted a group of persons taking pictures of his home and businesses.

The businessman is a distributor of junk food and has a warehouse in the city.

Treñas said the alleged presence of the KFR group is still raw and under verification by the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) intelligence section.

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, ICPO director, said the intelligence section and the six district police stations are still authenticating the KFR group’s presence in the city.

Mongcal said he also received text messages on the alleged kidnappers “and we had the information processed by our operatives.”

“We relayed the plate numbers of the vehicles mentioned in text messages to our police stations so they can watch out and validate the information. There is no confirmation yet that these alleged kidnappers are roaming the city,” Mongcal said.   

Mongcal said the information they have right now is “very sketchy” and has no specific target or victim.

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