Controversy marks the transition of leadership in Antique police

Brigadier General Jack Wanky (center) leads the turnover of command rites at the Antique Police Provincial Office from Colonel Rogelio Abran, Jr. to Colonel Lea Rose Peña.

By Jennifer P. Rendon

In a turn of events reminiscent of the drama that accompanied his arrival, Colonel Rogelio Abran, Jr.’s departure from the Antique Police Provincial Office (AnPPO) has been tinged with controversy.

Abran was unexpectedly relieved of his duties on February 22, with the change of command occurring that same afternoon.

Colonel Lea Rose Peña, previously at the helm of the Regional Learning and Doctrine Development Division (RLDDD), has been appointed as the officer-in-charge of the AnPPO.

The transition ceremony was presided over by the newly-installed Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 chief, Brigadier General Jack Wanky, who had just overseen a similar ceremony for the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOcPPO), marking the handover from Colonel Leo Pamittan to the incoming chief, Colonel Rainerio de Chavez.

The handover between Peña and Abran was conducted at Maringal Hall of the PRO 6 headquarters at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City.

Unofficial sources suggest that Governor Rhodora Cadiao had expressed a desire for Abran to remain in his role, commending his performance as the impetus for her support.

However, reports hint that Abran’s removal was a decision made at the national level of the Philippine National Police (PNP), prompted by a request from a notable Antique politician.

To prevent Abran from being placed on indeterminate leave, arrangements have been made for him to exchange positions with Santos, a fellow officer from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class of 2000.

Abran, a PNPA Class of 1999 alumnus, officially took on the role of Antique’s top PNP official on May 15, 2023.

This assignment came nearly two months after his initial designation as acting director, a delay allegedly caused by political interference that prevented his immediate installation.

The latest movements in Antique’s police leadership seem to have been set in motion by Colonel Alexander Mariano’s ascension to the role of PRO-6 chief of staff, a prominent position within the regional hierarchy.

Mariano stepped into the shoes of Colonel Joriz Cantoria, who advanced to become the PRO-6 deputy regional director for operations (DRDO).

With roots in Laua-an, Antique, Mariano was slated to assume the position of police chief on March 17, 2023.

However, it has been reported that this appointment was stalled due to Senator Loren Legarda’s opposition to Mariano’s transfer.