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NAPOLCOM to probe Php4.3-million alleged illegal fishing payola in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY – Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Regional Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has submitted himself to the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) for investigation to clear his name regarding allegations that some police officials, including him, are involved in an illegal fishing payola in the Bicol region.

Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Regional Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) 

Deona requested for NAPOLCOM to start the probe immediately during the recent Regional Advisory Council (RAC) meeting presided over by Camarines Sur 3rd District Congressman Leni G. Robredo.

In attendance at the RAC meeting were NAPOLCOM Regional Director Eduardo Santos Jr., Bishop Joel “Bong” Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi, and other ranking officials of the PNP.

Payola?

A chart of the alleged payola circulated in Masbate province last week. In it were mentioned Masbate Acting Governor Vince Revil, collectors named Gigi Carandang and Norman Laurio, Supt. Oscar Regala, Officer-in-Charge of the Regional Intelligence Division, several members of the media, law enforcers, and local mayors, among others.

In an interview by BICOL STANDARD, Deona said that all police officers who were named or identified in the alleged scheme are now relieved from their posts and temporarily detailed at Camp Simeon Ola in this city.

"This will give NAPOLCOM the free hand in the investigation," Deona said.

The regional director also mentioned that prior to his assignment at the Police Regional Office 5, he had been receiving information about the payola issue.

However, he made it a point to put an end to the illegal activities in the region once he assumed office.

All-out war

Deona, it would be recalled, was behind the Target Output System which wages an all-out war against illegal fishing, illegal drugs, gambling, and other criminal activity in Bicol.

In the circulating report from unidentified sources, it is claimed at the overall monthly payola is at least Php 4.3 million pesos. Said amount is purportedly "distributed to an organizational structure for a smooth-sailing transaction."

Said report surfaced since the police announced that it had just concluded a series of apprehensions of suspects involved illegal fishing in the island province.

Collared were big-time commercial fishing vessels owned by several local officials in Quezon Province. Such cases are now being tried and litigated in the Sorsogon and Masbate provinces.

Bishop Baylon, who attended the RAC meeting, admitted that it is truly difficult to curtail the illegal fishing activities because some local officials are involved.

Baylon, who is now at the Diocese of Legazpi, was formerly assigned in Masbate, where he said he fought against the illegal activities.

Besides, big-time commercial fishing vessels operators are often armed, the prelate said.

BFAR Regional Director defends Deona

Meanwhile, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Director Dennis del Socorro believes that Deona’s name is being dragged into this controversy because of his relentless campaign against illegal fishing perpetrated by large-scale operators.

Del Socorro personally commended the Regional PNP chief for achieving a considerable amount of success against the illegal fishing activities in the Bicol region.

“I am deeply concerned about the impending reshuffle of Police Directors, since I understand that RD Deona may be given another assignment. We have made a substantial dent in the number of illegal fishing activities in the entire region, and it is because of the sincere effort of Deona," Del Socorro said.

Big-time illegal fishers apprehended

Despite the lack of equipment of the police, big-time commercial fishers involved in illegal fishing in Bicol in the region have been charged in court.

Said commercial fishers come from as far as Negros Occidental, Iloilo and the so-called Lucena-Quezon Provinces.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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