Central Luzon top cop sued for removing Ecija town police chief
SAN ANTONIO, Nueva Ecija–The Central Luzon police director has been sued by this town’s mayor for allegedly disrupting the enforcement of the local quarantine when he removed the San Antonio chief of police.
Mayor Arvin Salonga filed criminal and administrative complaints against Police Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, director of Police Regional Office 3 in Camp Olivas (PRO3), for transferring Police Maj. Roderick Corpuz to Tarlac City. The complaints against Sermonia were received by the Office of the Ombudsman on Aug. 12, records show.
In the complaint, Salonga said the working relationship between San Antonio and the police had been “exemplary” under Corpuz’s watch. The mayor said the former police chief had been committed to “the strict and effective implementation of the programs and executive orders issued by the [municipal government] especially during this time that the country is facing the coronavirus disease (COVID -19) pandemic.”
Salonga credited Corpuz for the effective border controls that have helped contain the spread of the disease.
“With [his] sudden and unsystematic transfer… COVID-19 positive cases in the municipality have increased due to the absence of checkpoints in designated areas and boundaries that would filter the health conditions of individuals coming in the municipality,” the complaint says.
The Municipal Health Office records nine confirmed COVID-19 cases here as of Aug. 9, including a patient who arrived with coughs, colds and fever in Barangay (village) Julo on July 31.
Sermonia’s decision to relieve Corpuz had violated Sec. 63 of Republic Act No. 8551 which empowers city or municipal mayors to choose the chief of police from a list of five eligible officers recommended by the provincial police director, the mayor claimed.
Corpuz was among the five police majors and a police colonel, who were reassigned from Nueva Ecija to the provinces of Bulacan, Tarlac and Pampanga provinces. Their transfer was based on a July 15 special order numbered PRO3-SO-RA-2020-1565, which was signed by Col. Rommel Batangan, chief of Regional Personnel and Records Management Division.
At press time, Sermonia has not yet issued a statement regarding the mayor’s accusation. ARMAND GALANG
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