34 cops relieved over Passi City gun raid might be reinstated but…

Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor, PRO-6 director

By Jennifer P. Rendon

It’s more likely that the 34 policemen, including the chief of the Passi City Component Police Station, who were administratively relieved might be reinstated to their posts.

Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor, Western Visayas police chief, said that “there’s a big possibility na maibalik sila sa dati nilang pwesto.”

Citing an instruction from the PNP national headquarters, Villaflor said the 34 would be reassigned to their previous posts if they were exonerated or found to have conducted the controversial August 12, 2023 gun raid in Barangay Agtano, Passi City in a legal manner.

But it might not happen anytime soon owing to the election period.

It can be noted that the movement of personnel from one unit to another, whether or not in the same office or agency, during the election period is prohibited by law.

The election period is from August 28 to November 29.

“So, kung maibalik sila baka after the election period na,” Villaflor said.

The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) ordered the relief of Lieutenant Colonel Aron Palomo and 33 policemen from the Passi City CPS, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office-Provincial Special Operations Group (IPPO-PSOG) and the IPPP Special Weapons and Tactics (IPPO) team following the gun raid at Passi City.

Major Marvin Buenavista temporarily replaced Palomo as head of Passi City PNP.

Villaflor clarified that the relief is administrative only, not deemed a punitive act or punishment.

The PNP national headquarters advised on the relief, as investigation is still ongoing.

The relief came on the heels of the complaint of the camp of Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Barrios and his brother, Neptalie Barrios, that the police planted evidence and robbed them with P135,000.

However, the police alleged that the operation was done according to the PNP Operational Procedures.