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Napolcom sacks police exec over friendship with slain drug lord

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CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN OFFICER

Napolcom sacks police exec over friendship with slain drug lord

Relatives and friends visit the wake of Melvin Odicta (right photo) and wife, Merriam, in Iloilo City in this photo taken last year. —INQUIRER PHOTOS

ILOILO CITY—The National Police Commission (Napolcom) has ordered the dismissal of a police official who admitted knowing and socializing with a slain suspected drug lord in Iloilo City.

The Napolcom en banc ordered the dismissal from service of Supt. Ronald Allan Gepana after he was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a police officer.

In the five-page decision, the Napolcom cited Gepana’s admission that he personally knew Melvin Odicta for 16 years and met him in social gatherings.

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Gepana also admitted to have dined with his family and friends at a restaurant owned by Odicta.

“It must be emphasized that the conduct of behavior of everyone in the public service are circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct at all times, must be characterized with propriety and integrity, but above all else, must be above and beyond suspicion,” according to the decision.

The order was promulgated on July 20, 2017, but the Napolcom in Western Visayas region received a copy only last week, said Allen Camering, the agency’s regional spokesperson.

Camering said the dismissal order was served to Gepana by the Napolcom in the National Capital Region.

Gepana was among the policemen named last year by President Rodrigo Duterte as involved in illegal drugs. He was among those relieved due to the President’s announcement and assigned to the police national headquarters in Camp Crame.

In his counteraffidavit, Gepana, former chief of the Regional Intelligence Office of the Philippine National Police in Western Visayas, denied the allegation.

He said he was introduced to Odicta by a mutual acquaintance in 2000 when he was still assigned in Central Mindanao. Gepana said he had no idea on the nature of businesses of Odicta in Iloilo City.

Odicta allegedly headed one of the two main drug groups in Western Visayas.

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A lone gunman shot and killed Odicta and his wife, Merriam, on Aug. 29 last year shortly after they disembarked from a passenger ship at the Caticlan port in Malay town in Aklan province. The killings remained unsolved.

“The association of respondent [Gepana] to a known high value drug personality tarnished the image of the PNP organization,” the Napolcom decision said.

It said Gepana’s denial of knowledge of Odicta’s alleged involvement in trading illegal drugs was “quite improbable and amusing” because the police official handled intelligence operations and was assigned in different regions.

The Napolcom said Gepana, as a high-ranking officer, should had avoided situations which could link him to drug personalities, and risk the faith and trust of the public on the PNP.

“With the admission of respondent, his acts clearly show impropriety and indicate vitiated or corrupt state of moral character which shows his unworthiness to remain in the police service,” according to the decision.

The Napolcom also meted Gepana accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and disqualification in government service.

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TAGS: Melvin Odicta, Napolcom, Ronald Allan Gepana
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