By Jennifer P. Rendon
Amid the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO)’s seemingly active campaign against illegal drugs, it relieved two local police chiefs who led major anti-narcotics operations that resulted in big seizures of illegal drugs.
Colonel Ronaldo Palomo, IPPO director, clarified that the reason why Lieutenant Ryan Inot Christ was relieved from the Bingawan Municipal Police Station is different from that of Lieutenant Renzo Martinez of Estancia MPS.
In Martinez’s case, Mayor Mary Lynn Mosqueda of Estancia allegedly wanted another local police chief.
Palomo said Mosqueda has the power to choose their own chief of police and she merely invoked such authority.
The Iloilo police chief noted that the local chief executive did not formally request Martinez’s relief, but he heard that the letter was addressed to the regional headquarters, which apparently refers to the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6.
But he claimed that there was no order from PRO-6 to IPPO to relieve Martinez.
“I was the one who issued the order after talking with the mayor of Estancia,” he said.
Mosqueda intimated that he was choosing Captain Hector Ayagan to replace Martinez.
“Last election, may nakita kita dira, may na-sense kita dira sa banwa sang Estancia and then sang pag-istoryahanay namon, then I asked her kung ano ang gusto niya, she said nga kung pwede mapa-islan na lang,” Palomo said over Bombo Radyo-Iloilo.
When asked what could have been the issue between Martinez and Mosqueda, he claimed that it could be about “trust and confidence.”
“Maybe, she wanted a good collaboration with the local police,” Palomo said but did not go into details.
When further pressed if there could be other reasons or if he has doubts about Martinez getting kicked from Estancia despite his above-par performance, Palomo only said that the work of a policeman doesn’t end there.
“His (Martinez) drive against illegal drugs doesn’t end in Estancia,” he said.
Palomo bared that he offered a position to Martinez at the IPPO Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) but the latter asked for time to think about it.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor, Western Visayas police chief, said he instructed Palomo “to reassign those officers, who are really, really hardworking, to other positions where they can best continue their skills as law enforcers.”
On the other hand, “to those who are mediocre performing, they do not deserve any good position. That was my warning even during my early days in PRO6: toe the line.”
He cited that he goes around field units to get a feel of the stations and to gauge their performance.
But when asked if Mosqueda indeed wrote to him about Martinez, there was no direct answer from Villaflor but he cited that under Republic Act 6975, “the Mayor has the authority to choose the chief of police.”
He also acknowledged that Martinez is a hardworking junior officer, especially on anti-illegal drug operations.
“But as a chief of police, there are other factors that he has to consider in order for the police station to perform very well as a unit,” he said.
He said that Martinez will be made to handle projects at the provincial level.
“Kaya in essence ay promotion sa kanya ‘yun. It’s not demotion or anything else,” he said.
Under Martinez’s watch, the Estancia MPS spearheaded drug operations that led to the recovery of a big volume of illegal drugs.
Two of his most notable accomplishments were the arrest of Arman Diocos, 40, and his half-brother, 35-year-old Michael Diocos, at Barangay Cano-an, Estancia on Nov. 23.
Police seized drugs weighing around 1.1 kilograms valued at P7,480,000.
On Sept. 30, police arrested alias Rene, 43, of Barangay Sauyo, Novaliches, Quezon City and alias Renz, 22, of Barangay Gogo, Estancia.
The two suspects yielded 1.6 kilograms of shabu valued at P10,880,000.
INOT AND THE UNVERIFIED REPORTS
In Inot’s case, Palomo was talking about intelligence-driven drug operations.
He was apparently referring to Inot’s media interviews where he claimed that a barangay official and a municipal employee might be involved in the illegal drug trade in Bingawan.
But Inot was not the initial source of the information, which leaked after the arrest of Menandro Gililang, 44, of Zone 7, Barangay Balabag, Santa Barbara, Iloilo.
Suspected shabu worth P2.4 million was seized from his possession.
Gelilang allegedly claimed that they were supporting a municipal and a barangay official.
By support, it was assumed that Gelilang and his group provided drug protection money to the duo.
When Inot was later asked, he confirmed that they indeed received similar reports.
Palomo said that Inot should be responsible enough about divulging unvalidated reports that would destroy the name of the person.
But it should be noted that apart from confirming the reports, Inot did not give any further details about the barangay official and municipal employee.
Palomo has insisted that the two officials are not the only ones being investigated by IPPO.
“We will not stop working until those responsible will be brought to justice,” he said.
Palomo also stressed that he doesn’t want his decision to be tainted with “protection issues.”
It was gathered that both Inot and Martinez were immediately relieved on Nov. 30, the first day after the election period.
Inot was assigned to the IPPO headquarters at Camp Sumagaysay in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.