‘SHADY PAST’: Guv picks cop embroiled in ‘sex scandal’ to head Iloilo police

Police Colonel Roland Vilela

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

A COP allegedly embroiled in a sex scandal will lead the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO).

The Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 confirmed that Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. has picked Police Colonel Roland Vilela, the outgoing chief of the Regional Comptrollership Division (RCD) of Cagayan Valley region, will replace Police Colonel Marlon Tayaba, who had been Iloilo police chief for more than two years already.

Tayaba is poised to take over the chief directorial staff post of PRO-6 in Iloilo City.

The two other officers who were recommended for the top IPPO post were Colonels Policarpio Cayabyab and Juel Neil Salcedo.

Cayabyab is presently the acting chief of the Regional Maritime Office (RMO)-6 while Salcedo is the chief of the Police Protective Unit of the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG).

Vilela, a member of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class of 1997, used to be the acting chief of the Finance Management Division of the Directorate for Comptrollership and also heads the PNP Civil Security Group.

But there is more to Vilela than meets the eye.

A quick online search would reveal that Vilela is the estranged husband of another popular PNP official – Colonel Royina Garma, the first female chief of Cebu City Police Office.

Garma was chosen to head Cebu at the height of several killings in the city. While she was at odds with former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Garma had the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Duterte.

On June 24, Duterte announced Garma’s appointment as general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), an agency rocked by corruption allegations.

Going back to Vilela, he hogged the limelight in 2005 when he was tagged in a sex scandal allegation that rocked Davao City.

Vilela, who was then a police Major and head of Davao City police’s anti-vice unit, was accused of raping a 17-year-old commercial sex worker.

The girl allegedly sought the police’s help to take legal actions against her aunt for “pimping” her.

But instead of helping the girl, Vilela allegedly brought her to a hotel where the purported rape happened.

In an interview with Rappler.com, Garma acknowledged that Vilela may have taken advantage of the teenager.

The incident was a virtual slap on Garma’s face since she was assigned at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) that advocated for the protection for women and children, among others.

Despite the controversy, Garma stood by Vilela and even asked then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte not to banish her husband from Davao Region.

The final straw that broke their marriage was in 2007 when a purported sex video of Vilela and his paramour went public.

An online report posted on philstar.com indicated that Vilela was dismissed from the service by PNP Internal Affairs Service for grave misconduct because of the alleged sex video.

The report also said that Garma also charged Vilela of robbery, physical injuries, and bigamy.

But it appears that Vilela has a knack for dodging controversy and bad luck as he remains in active service and was even appointed to key positions before being picked by Defensor Jr. to head the IPPO.