Samar’s top cop relieved over killings
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Samar’s top police officer has been released from his post for allegedly failing to stop the series of killings in the province.
Senior Supt. Elmer Rafael Pelobello, who was appointed to his position about five months ago, will be transferred to the Philippine National Police (PNP) main headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. He was replaced by Senior Supt. Rommel Bernardo Cabagnot, head of the Police Security Protection Group.
Samar has always been in the list of “concerned areas” during elections due to its history of violence and the presence of private armed groups.
The relief order, dated Nov. 24, was signed by Senior Supt. Brigido Unay, officer in charge of the PNP Regional Chief Director Staff. It did not mention the cause of Pelobello’s removal, but a source who had no authority to speak about the case revealed that it could be due to his alleged failure to solve the killings.
But Pelobello said he had put in place measures to stop the killings, such as setting up synchronized checkpoints, a campaign on unlicensed firearms, and the arrest of 150 people who were subjects of court warrants.
He expressed surprise at his transfer, effective Nov. 26, as it came four days after he initiated what he called a “one-time, big-time” campaign against illegal drugs in Calbayog, which resulted in the arrest of more than 30 people.
The official said he would follow the order.