President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said an investigation and lifestyle check will proceed against relieved Bacolod police director, Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, and four other policemen, whom he has accused of enabling the proliferation of illegal drugs in Bacolod City
The president made the pronouncement at an about 20-minute meeting with the five policemen in Malacañang at about 4:30 p.m. yesterday, Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police regional director, told the DAILY STAR.
Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde and Bulalacao were with the five policemen during the meeting with the President.
Aside from Ebreo, Senior Supt. Allan Rubi Macapagal, Supt. Richie Makilan Yatar, Supt. Nasruddin Daud Tayuan, and Senior Insp. Victor Paulino, whom the president linked to the proliferation of illegal drugs in Bacolod also, were at Malacañang.
The five Bacolod police officials denied before an “angry” President Duterte that they were involved in the illegal drugs trade, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, who was present during the meeting, was quoted by the Manila media as saying.
“They all explained their side…They will be put under investigation because drugs still proliferate in Bacolod,” he said.
Duterte announced the firing of the five policemen in his speech at the private birthday party of Leo Rey Yanson, president and chief executive officer of Vallacar Transit, at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City on Saturday night.
Bulalacao said the President talked to the Bacolod policemen about information he received from reliable sources that they allegedly were involved in illegal drugs activities and Ebreo did not bother to check them so it seems that he was protecting his subordinates.
The president said since Ebreo did not take action he should be relieved with the four others and an investigation and lifestyle check should proceed, Bulalacao said, adding that due process will be given them.
“He (Duterte) did not mention anything about the alleged involvement of Ebreo in illegal drugs activities. His only issue against Ebreo was that he did not act against his subordinates,” Bulalacao said.
The five policemen are being held at the Police Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit in Iloilo City, but Bulalacao said he has asked the chief PNP for their transfer to Camp Crame.
“I suggested to the chief PNP that while we are investigating the issues against them, could they be assigned at Camp Crame because I need replacements to work in Bacolod,” Bulalacao said.
He said with no replacements from Camp Crame, there will be a vacuum in the Bacolod PNP.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said yesterday the move against Ebreo and the four other policemen was based on the chief executive’s “tentacles of intelligence”.
Panelo was reacting to the PNP chief’s statement on Monday that Ebreo was not on the PNP’s drugs watchlist and neither that of the President’s.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Western Visayas said Ebreo was also not on its watchlist.
“Perhaps the President has a different source of information. The President has a lot of tentacles of intelligence,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo acknowledged that while the PNP has yet to determine drug personalities supposedly being protected by Ebreo, the President’s personal evidence was enough basis to fire the Bacolod police chief.
“At present, we don’t know exactly the extent of his participation in the drug trade. But the President has relieved him precisely becausehe has seen evidence proving he is included or a part of it,” Panelo said.
Panelo said that Palace will await results of the investigation being conducted by the PNP.
“What I know is that he is involved in the illegal drug trade whether as a protector or participant. Perhaps we will wait for the PNP exactly which charges will be filed against him, administratively or criminally,” he added.*CPG/PNA
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