Bicol PNP head wants sanctions vs. town cop chief

LEGAZPI CITY – The leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol Region on Tuesday said it has directed the Catanduanes police director to recommend appropriate sanctions against the chief of police of Bato town over the latter's social media post on the killing of a mother and son by a cop from Tarlac.

Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bustamante, in a text message to the Philippine News Agency, said, “I have directed police provincial director (Col. Brian) Castillo to issue a show-cause order against police Capt. (Ariel) Baruga, the town police officer-in-charge.”

On Monday, Bato town Mayor Juan Rodulfo recommended the removal of Baruga who issued a statement on Facebook about the brutal killing of the mother and son that went viral on the internet.

He asked Castillo to transfer Baruga for his biased statement.

Rodulfo, in his letter, said “We find it very disturbing that Capt. Baruga’s FB post cited that the slain mother was at fault because she did not give due respect to the policeman, prompting him to shoot the victims.”

“Much as we respect his right to publicly pronounce his personal opinion regarding the killings, he should have exercised restraint and prudence in doing so, considering that he is the Chief of Police of this town,” he said.

In his letter, Rodulfo asked the police provincial director to relieve Baruga to allay the fears of his constituents.

He said Baruga's loyalty seems to rest primarily on his fellow policemen rather than the oath he took to serve and protect the people.

Baruga, in his FB post said, “Lesson learned kahit puti na ang buhok o ubanin na tayo eh matuto rumispesto sa ating mga Kapulisan, mahirap kalaban ang pagtitimpi at pagpapasensya (even if our hair turns grey, we should learn to respect our police, it's hard to fight against restraint and tolerance). RIP Nanay and Totoy.”

The municipal police chief's statement angered thousands of netizens who were outraged over brutal killing of the unarmed victims. (by Mar Serrano, PNA)