BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The dismissal of six policemen involved in the illegal arrest of then Moises Padilla vice-mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo and her husband in Negros Occidental three years ago is a warning to the entire Philippine National Police not to engage in partisan politics during the election period, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.
Año, who is also the Napolcom chairman, in a statement, ordered police personnel to stay away from politics.
Of the six policemen dismissed from the service, former Moises Padilla town police chief, P/Cpt. Allan Reloj has already retired. The five others were P/MSgt. Ricardo Campos Dingcong Jr., P/Cpl. Nobel Perante, P/Cpl. Felix Corejado Pesales Jr., Patrolman Michael Mondido, and Patrolman Darryl Ducay Dormido.
A Napolcom investigation found that the six indeed committed grave misconduct and grave irregularities in the performance of their duties, Año said.
The six were accused of conducting an illegal checkpoint, performing unlawful arrest on the Yulos, and an illegal search and seizure on the vehicle of the couple, in violation of the 2013 PNP Police Operational Procedures.
P/Lt. Abegael Donasco, deputy spokesperson, said the six policemen may still file an appeal on the decision of Napolcom.
PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, meanwhile, echoed the reminders of Año for police personnel not to engage in partisan politics, or face dismissal from the service.
“Policemen have no business in politics unless they resign and run for public office, or openly support a candidate. We already have mechanisms to isolate the PNP from politics and we will make sure that all of these are in place and are properly observed,” Eleazar said.
Aside from dismissal, the Napolcom also ordered the forfeiture of eligibility and retirement benefits of the six Negrense police officers, and they will not hold public office in the future.
“The incident that happened in Negros Occidental where six PNP personnel were dismissed from the service for dipping their fingers into local politics should serve as a warning to all other personnel about the risk they are taking for involving themselves in politics,” Eleazar said.
He stressed that PNP personnel should instead focus on coming up with measures to ensure an orderly, credible and peaceful national and local elections next year.*