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PNP chief confirms DCPO personnel relief part of drug war probe

PHILIPPINE National Police Director General Rommel Marbil confirmed that the administrative relief of 35 Davao City Police Office (DCPO) officers is part of the ongoing investigation into the deaths of seven suspected drug personalities during operations from March 23 to 26.

However, Marbil assured the officers would be reinstated immediately if cleared of wrongdoing.

The move followed the recommendations of the Police Regional Office XI’s Internal Affairs Service. The officers remain off-duty during the investigation and are assigned to the regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit. 

DCPO acting head Colonel Rolindo Suguilon said the relief won’t impact their mandate to clear the communities of illegal drugs. 

DCPO acting chief Colonel Rolindo Suguilon

In a press briefing at The Royal Manday Hotel on May 29, Suguilon said, “Na misinterpret lang natin ang drug war. For us in the PNP, it is a relentless campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.

Suguilon, who replaced the relieved Col. Richard Bad-ang, assures the public that anti-drug and anti-crime operations will continue, including pursuing wanted persons and those carrying illegal firearms.

With his assumption, he does not anticipate personnel changes but some realignment within the force may occur to make their jobs more effective.

Meanwhile, the 20th City Council invited the regional police director to the next regular session on June 4 to shed light on the issue. Councilor Luna Acosta previously said politics could have played a major role in the relief of the 35 DCPO personnel. 

“We will invite the regional director or his representative to provide the city of Davao an explanation as to why such a huge number of our personnel have been relieved at this time,” said Acosta, the committee on peace and public safety chairperson. 

On May 22, 2024, a total of 35 DCPO personnel were relieved of their duties under the grounds of allotting time for the investigation of the buy-bust operations conducted from March 23 to March 26. 

During the 20th regular session of the city council, a resolution supporting the statement of Mayor Sebastian Duterte condemning the removal of a huge number of DCPO personnel was passed. Through the resolution, the City Council reiterated the call of the city mayor for accountability and transparency in handling the case of the relieved personnel. 

Meanwhile, Acosta also said the new Department of the Interior and Local Government director will be invited to the next regular session to give further information on the situation. 

Lawmakers also urged the PRO XI, especially the Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) XI, to ensure the prompt and unbiased resolution of the investigation. 


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