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4 Bicol police chiefs relieved to ensure ‘non-partisan’ polls

Four unit commanders of Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) were relieved from their positions as part of preparations for the May 9 national and local elections.

Maj. Malu Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, in an interview on Monday said it was an order received from the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management of the national headquarters in Camp Crame.

Albay’s Col. Arnold Santiago, Catanduanes’ Col. Brian Castillo, Masbate’s Col. Joriz Cantoria, and Naga City’s Marlon Catan will be replaced by Col. Byron Tabernilla, Col. Benjamin Balingbing, Col. Rolly Albaña, and Col. Nelson Pacalso, respectively.

“It’s part of the administrative measures to ensure neutrality and non-partisanship among police officers, most especially those whose relatives are running for a seat in the government,” Calubaquib said.

Under Section 26 of Republic Act No. 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, “the command and direction of the PNP (Philippine National Police) shall be vested in the Chief of the PNP who shall have the power to direct and control tactical, as well as strategic movements, deployment, placement, utilization of the PNP or any of its units and personnel, including its equipment, facilities and other resources.”

Asked if other officers will be relieved from the posts, Calubaquib said “we are just waiting for advice from the national headquarters.”

In a statement, PRO5 Regional Director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo welcomed the newly designated acting provincial directors and urged them to perform their jobs with utmost professionalism and integrity.

“It shall likewise endeavor to provide orderly, peaceful, and credible elections by allowing the people of Bicol to exercise their right of suffrage following their will and personal choice,” Estomo said.

Source: Philippines News Agency