BTAO chief stays, Bacolod mayor says

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez said during the weekend that Bacolod Traffic Authority (BTAO) chief Police Major Junji Liba has not been relieved from his post.

“He stays put in his position as BTAO head,” Benitez told reporters on Saturday.

“What’s the issue? Wala man issue. He (Liba) is still head of the BTAO,” Benitez said after a radio reporter asked him about the issue between Liba and Councilor Al Victor Espino.

Earlier, Espino, chair of the Sanggunian Panlungsod Committee on Transportation, claimed in media interviews that he received a threat after he proposed that Liba will be removed because he (Espino) reportedly was not convinced with the latter’s performance.

Espino said Liba was already given enough time to prove himself but he saw otherwise.

“Don’t touch Liba,” was the threat Espino claimed to have received.

Espino said that under the BTAO ordinance, the office is civilian in nature and Liba is still in active police service adding that the Philippine National Police has no jurisdiction over the city government.

“I am willing and ready to face those threats,” Espino said.

For his part, Liba said he has no idea about the threat, adding that whether he stays or not as BTAO head is up to Benitez.

A prior statement released by the Bacolod City Public Information Office said that Mayor Benitez has asked the City Legal Office or the Good Governance Committee to independently look into the issues as he is also close to both Espino and Liba.

He said the City Legal Officer, as chair of the Good Governance Committee, and the City Administrator are tasked to study and further check the claims.