S. Cotabato mayors declare policemen persona non grata
KORONADAL CITY—Mayors in South Cotabato province declared persona non grata four police officials who led the serving of 18 search warrants related to an antidrug operation against Banga Mayor Albert Palencia last week.
Tupi Mayor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines chapter in South Cotabato, said the mayors were dismayed over how the operation was carried out.
Tamayo said the mayors were convinced Palencia did not own the bullets and rifle grenade supposedly found by the raiding team in his house and pig farm, respectively.
The 10 South Cotabato mayors, through a resolution, declared persona non grata Supt. Maximo Sebastian, chief of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force, and raiding team members Senior Insp. Philander Alunday, Senior Insp. Michael Elopre and Insp. Ryan Omar Hassiman.
Tamayo said the mayors were not against the antidrug operation but it should be carried out in accordance with the law and the rights of individuals should not be violated.
But Supt. Romeo Galgo, regional police information chief, said the operation was carried out with transparency and in accordance with police operations manual.
Galgo said the declaration will not stop the Philippine National Police from performing its duties.
“We are just implementing the search warrants, as directed by the court and higher headquarters,” Galgo told the Inquirer.
Palencia, who is detained in his town’s police station, had repeatedly denied he was into the illegal drug trade. —EDWIN FERNANDEZ
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