Negros mayor stripped of control over police
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—The National Police Commission has ordered the suspension of the administrative and operational control over the police of Mayor Melecio Yap of Escalante, Negros Occidental, because of his alleged close association with the communist rebels and extra-judicial killings in his city.
Yap, however, denied the charges that he provided material support to the New People’s Army and had used the NPA to intimidate his political opponents.
The mayor lamented that the Napolcom didn’t give him a chance to air his side before adopting the resolution that removed his administrative and operational control over the police.
“The inquiry was conducted unilaterally without giving a chance to present my side and without even informing me of the complaint against my person, thus violating my fundamental right as a human and dignity as a person,” he said.
“Apparently, I became a victim of human rights violation which we suppose is an act that the present administration grossly abhors and vows to protect (sic),” he added.
The Napolcom order was contained in a resolution signed by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and five commissioners on July 15. A copy was released to the media on Friday.
According to the resolution, Yap was accused of providing material support to the communist rebels, which Napolcom considered “inimical to national security” and affected the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign.
A close review of the records convinced Napolcom that there was reason to believe that the mayor “may have been and may still be involved in the activities he has been accused of,” according to the resolution.
“The acts of supporting criminal elements and or rebellious groups, if tolerated, will frustrate the ultimate objective of the government of providing peace and stability to the local community,” the resolution said.
“Yap is mandated to implement the law at all times and not bend or render it ineffective,” the resolution added.
Yap’s alleged activities and the unsolved extra-judicial killings were brought to the attention of President Benigno Aquino through a letter sent by San Carlos Bishop Jose Advincula in March.
The Office of the President then ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police to conduct an investigation.
Chief Superintendent Cipriano Querol Jr., police director for Western Visayas, conducted an investigation and later recommended that operational and administrative control over the police be removed from Yap “until the situation improved.”
Querol, in his report to Napolcom, claimed Yap had a close association with the local communist group before he became mayor of Escalante.
The police regional director also claimed that Yap had provided financial and logistical support to the human rights group Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates.
Querol’s report also alleged that the mayor gave KG-99 and AR-15 assault rifles and a .45-caliber Colt pistol to the NPA hit squad to eliminate Carapali Lualhati of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade.
In return, Querol claimed, the local communists initiated violent actions to intimidate Yap’s political opponents during the election period.
The Napolcom asked its regional director, Honey Paredes, to submit an independent report and recommendation on the matter.
Paredes in a memorandum addressed to Robredo on June 7, backed the allegations against Yap.
Napolcom officials consulted with Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. on the withdrawal of the deputation of Yap and the governor interposed no objection and left the decision to the commission, the resolution added.
Mayor Yap denied the allegations raised against him and claimed that the Napolcom didn’t ask for his side on the matter.
Senior Superintendent Allan Guisihan, police provincial director of Negros Occidental, said he has not received a copy of the implementing guidelines of the order from the Napolcom.
Pending receipt of the order, Guisihan said, Yap will continue to have administrative and operational control over the Escalante police.
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