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Escudero seeks relief of PNP officers in LP meeting

/ 01:12 AM April 13, 2016
Francis Escudero

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero. FILE PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

A CANDIDATE for vice president has urged the chief of the national police to relieve four ranking officers spotted at a hotel recently where the Liberal Party (LP) was holding a meeting, to pave the way for an impartial investigation into their activities.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who is running as an independent, on Tuesday asked Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez to relieve from their posts the four officers spotted by journalists at the Novotel hotel at the Araneta Center in Cubao, which is owned by the family of LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas.

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Escudero in a statement said he sent a letter to Marquez to formalize his complaint against the police officers who may have been engaged in electioneering or partisan political activity.

Crucial role

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“The [PNP] shall play a crucial role in the coming elections. We cannot permit a dodgy incident like the encounter of the four police generals to overshadow the integrity and credibility of the May 9 elections,” Escudero said in his letter.

“Unscrupulous police officers bent on exercising partisan political activity for personal gain and self-aggrandizement have no place in the [PNP],” he added.

The four officers were seen by journalists entering a room at the hotel with LP staff members on April 2.

The officers were Director Generoso Cerbo Jr., chief of the Directorate for Intelligence; Chief Supt. Rainier Idio, regional director of the Cagayan Valley police; Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, head of the Western Visayas regional police office, and Chief Supt. Ronald Santos, deputy regional director for administration for Calabarzon.

Partisan campaigning

Also seen at the hotel were retired PNP Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr. and retired Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo of the military’s Western Mindanao Command.

Escudero said the Constitution prohibits members of the civil service from engaging, directly or indirectly, in electioneering or partisan political campaigning.

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He said the Omnibus Election Code provides that “any officer or employee in the civil service, except those holding political office; any officer, employee or member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or any police force, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense units and all other paramilitary units … who, directly or indirectly, intervene in any election campaign or engage in any partisan political activity, except to vote, to preserve public order if he is a peace officer, shall be guilty of an election offense.”

He said the police officers’ meeting with people identified with Roxas was clearly a partisan political activity.

“Clearly, their actions undermine the series of internal reforms you have [instituted] to professionalize the police force and to strengthen the public trust it has achieved under your stead,” Escudero said in his letter to Marquez.

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TAGS: electioneering, Elections 2016, Francis Escudero, Nation, news
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