War declared on police by Negros town council
BACOLOD CITY—Officials of a Negros Occidental city on Monday declared war on the city’s police force, stripping it of all support, including use of a building as its headquarters.
The council of Escalante City passed three resolutions withdrawing all city government support for the police following the relief of 12 policemen without consultation with the city mayor, Melecio Yap.
The relief of Insp. Rollie Pondevilla, deputy police chief, and 10 other policemen last Nov. 22 was ordered by Chief Supt. Cipriano Querol, regional police chief of Western Visayas.
The officers were relieved for their alleged roles in extrajudicial killings in Escalante.
Aside from the 12 officers, three policemen serving as bodyguards of Mayor Yap were also relieved by Querol over the same allegations.
Councilor Santiago Maravilla said one of the resolutions directed the city legal office to sue regional and provincial police officers to stop them from removing the 15 police officers from their posts in the city.
The third resolution sought to strip the police force of its current office, a building owned by the city government.
Police may reuse the building only after appealing to the mayor. “What is important for them is to recognize the mayor,” said Maravilla.
Mayor Yap said he would enforce the council resolutions. He said stripping the police of city support could give policemen a semblance of independence from the mayor’s office.
He said he felt insulted when he wasn’t consulted on the relief of the 15 officers.
Chief Supt. Querol, quoting a circular issued by the National Police Commission (Napolcom), said consultation with local executives was not mandatory.
Napolcom on July 15 stripped Mayor Yap of control of the city police force, citing numerous cases of extrajudicial killings and his alleged close ties with communist guerrillas.
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