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Monreal mayor stripped of control, authority over police

A resolution recently issued by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) divested Monreal, Masbate Mayor Ben Espiloy of his administrative authority and control over the Philippine National Police (PNP) unit assigned in the municipality for his actions “inimical to public interest and national security.”

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The resolution was based on the findings of an investigation team sent to the municipality over a month ago which looked into reported “unbecoming conduct” of Espiloy in dealing with the municipal PNP unit.

Espiloy wanted to provide an arrested suspect in a drug case with VIP treatment while detained at the local police station, the report indicated.

VIP treatment?


Early last June, Monreal police station chief Senior Insp. Ignacio Suarilla III, in his report on the case to PNP Bicol Regional Director Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, said that the suspect identified as Aproniano Escorel Jr., a habal-habal (passenger motorcycle) driver of Barangay Rizal, Monreal, was arrested by local police operatives last May 28 by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by the local court for a drug-related complaint.

Upon knowing of the arrest, Espiloy, according to Suarilla, “requested” him to accord the suspect special treatment by allowing him to be detained in an air-conditioned room inside the town government-owned building housing the police office, and not behind bars.

The police station chief admitted that as a gesture of goodwill, he granted the mayor’s wish on the first night of Escorel’s detention.

The following day, Suarilla ordered the transfer of Escorel to the police detention cell based on the commitment order issued by the court on receiving the return of warrant signifying its successful serving.

Ire


Espiloy, according to the report, rushed to the police office and berated Suarilla for disobeying his instruction.

To further show his ire, the mayor ordered for the police station's power supply to be cut. Said order was promptly carried out by municipal linemen.

Espiloy reasoned out that the municipal government is the one paying for the power consumption of the police office.

On receiving reports about it, Deona promptly instructed Suarilla to move the station to a lighted nipa hut on a lot owned by the PNP for them to be able to discharge their normal police duties.
Such conduct of the mayor drew protest from all the 15 male members of the local police who, on the same day, had their heads shaved as a show of indignation.

Senior Supt. Mike Reyes, Masbate provincial police director, then accompanied a team from the regional offices for Bicol of Napolcom and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to Monreal to conduct a probe into the incident.

Findings


Findings in that on-the-spot investigation were forwarded to the PNP legal department in Camp Crame which filed the complaint with the Napolcom on determining substantial grounds, Deona said.

An administrative complaint has also been filed against Espiloy by the PNP with the Office of the Ombudsman which may cause his suspension, if not dismissal, from government service when proven guilty.

On Monday, a source from Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, the PNP regional headquarters for Bicol, relayed to PNA the information on the Napolcom resolution which removed the authority of Espiloy over the Monreal police.

Camarines Sur


Napolcom’s latest decision made Espiloy the second elected local government executive in Bicol to be recently stripped of administrative authority and control over the local police organization.

It will be recalled that on June 9, the Napolcom ordered the authority of Camarines Sur Governor Miguel Luis "Migz" Villafuerte over the police removed and revoked.

The Napolcom cited as its reason the numerous abuses committed by the Sagip Kalikasan Task Force (SKTF), which was created by the father of the incumbent governor, former Gov. Luis Raymund F.Villafuerte, Jr.  Danny Calleja/PNA/BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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