By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde ordered on Wednesday the relief of Police Colonel Raul Tacaca, director of Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office (Norppo), after the series of killings in the province last week.
In a press statement, Brigadier General Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said Tacaca’s relief from his position is “to give way to an impartial probe on possible lapses by his administration in light of several high profile killings in the province for the past several days.”
In the past week, 14 shooting incidents were reported and 17 persons were killed by unidentified armed men. Police linked three incidents to the rebel New People’s Army (NPA).
Among those killed were an incumbent councilor of Canlaon City, former mayor of Ayungon town, two educators, a lawyer, and two village chiefs.
Tacaca just returned to his post in the province on April 30, following his relief from the higher office over the implementation of OplanSauron in March which resulted in the death of 14 persons in separate operations in Canlaon City, and towns of Sta. Catalina and Manjuyod.
OplanSauron or the Synchronized Enhanced Management Police Operations (Sempo), made headlines in December 2018 and March 2019, after 20 persons, including two village chiefs were killed when they allegedly resisted arrest during the implementation of search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and explosives in the said province. Fourteen of which were suspected to be members of the Special Partisan Unit (SParU) of the NPA.
Tacaca earlier, said he was initially cleared from the issues raised against them during the OplanSauron operation and the higher office found no lapses on the rules on engagement of the local police, based on their investigation.
Police Colonel AngelitoDumangeng, currently the deputy regional director for operations of Police Regional Office (PRO) – 7 will concurrently act as officer-in-charge of Norppo.
Meanwhile, Albayalde also ordered Police Major General Elmo Sarona, head of Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) to spearhead the investigation of the killings in the province.
The PNP assured the public that the peace and order situation in Negros Oriental is under control and the police units there remain on full alert to prevent occurrence of crimes.