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Row brewing between Marikina LGU, PNP

Unilateral appointment of city’s new top cop said to upset mayor who allegedly withdrew support for police force

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has stepped into the brewing row between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Marikina local government which was accused of withdrawing support for the city police.

In a statement on Wednesday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he was still verifying the issue and would ask Mayor Marcelino Teodoro to submit an explanation.

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Teodoro, however, described the allegations against him as fake news and urged Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the PNP chief, to verify first the facts before talking to media.

On Monday, Albayalde, without naming names, complained about a Metro Manila mayor being childish after the local chief executive did not get a say in the appointment of the acting city police chief.

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Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the National Capital Region Police Office director, confirmed the next day that Albayalde was referring to Teodoro and Marikina police officer in charge, Col. Redrico Maranan.

DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, clarified to reporters in a text message on Wednesday that the PNP headquarters has the authority to designate a temporary police chief when “changes in police leadership in cities and provinces, especially during the election period” occur, to prevent a “leadership vacuum.”

The DILG Act, according to Malaya, “does not require the concurrence of the local chief executive in placing a chief of police in an acting capacity.”

Eleazar seeks probe

Eleazar said he had sent a letter to Albayalde for endorsement to the DILG, asking for an investigation into Teodoro’s actions, which supposedly included withholding allowances, ordering the takedown of police tarpaulins, and withdrawing the invitation for police officers to attend the weekly flag ceremony organized by city officials.

PNP personnel said Teodoro was retaliating after Marikina’s former police chief, Col. Roger Quesada, was promoted to a post in the Mimaropa region, and Maranan was installed as acting police chief on March 21 without his consent.

In a message to reporters, Teodoro turned the tables on the PNP, saying “the chief PNP would do well to exercise due diligence in verifying the facts before making any statement to the media.”

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“I, as city mayor, have not withheld support from the PNP Marikina, and shall continue to be its primary advocate as peace and order remains a priority of my administration,” he said.

Unprofessional

But Teodoro confirmed his frustration over Maranan’s appointment, saying it displayed the “unprofessionalism of the PNP more than anything.”

“I have no qualms in facing any inquiry on this matter, as I am confident that all I have done is in accordance with law,” he said.

“I cannot say the same for the PNP, which I must caution, should look into their processes in the designation and transfer of officers in charge,” he added.

Tension between City Hall and the local police force had been simmering as early as March, albeit in private, until Albayalde spoke about the “childish” mayor in his press briefing on Monday.

A report written by Maranan and submitted to Eleazar said he and Teodoro spoke for the first time on March 22, with the mayor pointing out that he was responsible for choosing his own chief of police. He also expressed worry that Maranan’s appointment would set a precedent.

Five days later, Teodoro, the report claimed, ordered the removal of tarpaulins displayed in front of police community precincts that bore the faces of Albayalde and Eleazar.

On April 1, the city administrator, Adrian Salvador, told the police that they were all barred from joining the Monday flag-raising ceremony at Freedom Park.

Three days later, the ordinance and traffic violation receipts issued to PNP personnel were recalled, Maranan said.

He said that on April 10, the Office of the City Administrator informed them over the phone that logistical support for the repair and maintenance of police mobility assets would be stopped, while their gas allowance would be reduced.

Marikina policemen were previously given a P15,000 gas allocation to service a fleet of 31 mobile cars, but this was dropped to P5,000.

A similar allowance for police motorcycles was also reduced, from P6,000 to P1,500.

Cost-sharing agreement

Teodoro confirmed the decrease in gas allowances but explained that his aim was to reach a cost-sharing agreement with the PNP for operating expenses.

“It is a matter of judicious spending in order that activities and programs relating to law enforcement in the city will be met with efficiency,” he said.

Maranan’s report on the matter, however, said that Teodoro’s actions “dramatically affected” the efforts of the Marikina police force to “serve and protect the public.”

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TAGS: DILG, Eduardo Año, Guillermo Eleazar, Marcelino Teodoro, Marikina-PNP row, Oscar Albayalde
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