DAVAO CITY—The police chiefs of Davao Oriental and of Cateel town, in the same province, had been relieved of their posts following reports of looting and incidents of theft there, including the ransacking of a National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse where some 7,000 sacks of rice had been stolen.
Superintendent Marcial Mariano Magistrado IV, Southern Mindanao police spokesperson, said Davao Oriental police director Supt. Ramil Mitra and Cateel chief of police Senior Inspector Clifford Nabor were relieved of their duties on Dec. 10 “for lapses in the deployment of security.”
The order was signed by Chief Superintendent Jaime Morente, Southern Mindanao police chief, he said.
Mitra was replaced by Supt. Vermin Valdez while Nabor was replaced by Insp. Jess Baylon.
“There are many reports of looting and theft after the typhoon,” Magistrado said. He said the incidents were now being jointly investigated by the police’s Criminal Investigation Detection Group, and the Regional Investigation and Detection Management.
In the case of the NFA warehouse in Cateel, Magistrado said the regional police office initially received information that it was damaged by the typhoon. “Probably the people (who were involved) were looking for food after the typhoon struck,” he said.
The incident first came into public knowledge when National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council chief Benito Ramos told President Aquino here that the NFA found that 7,000 sacks of rice were missing from its inventory in Cateel after Pablo struck.
Ramos told Aquino the police became aware of the incident only several days later.
Aquino commented he would never understand how it happened.
“The typhoon is not an excuse [for not knowing] what happens in your area,” Aquino had told police officials when he met them.
Magistrado also said Morente agreed that there was no excuse for the local police in Davao Oriental to have no immediate knowledge of the incident.
He said days before Pablo had battered the province, the regional police office had already deployed additional policemen as part of its preemptive plan.
He added that it is part of the police’s mandate to secure the population and government installations and the relieved commanders should have made sure the mandate was implemented. Ayan C. Mellejor, Inquirer Mindanao