The Department of the Interior and Local Government reminded the police organization to stay away from politics as it dismissed from the service six (6) police officers in Negros Oriental for the illegal arrest of Ella Garcia-Yulo, the incumbent Mayor of Moises Padilla town who was vice-mayor when the incident happened in 2017.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the dismissal of the six cops simply means that the DILG and the National Police Commission do not tolerate political partisanship in the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“We have been saying this: ‘No one is above the law’. Itong dismissal ng anim na pulis ay patunay na we remain in the straight path of justice and we continue to uphold the Constitutional protection against illegal search and arrest,” Año said.
“Walang puwang ang ganitong uri ng mga pulis sa hanay ng PNP. They spoil the good work of the majority of the police force and diminish public confidence in our police force. The dismissal of these cops is a warning to the entire PNP to be non-partisan especially during the election season,” he added.
Año said that the National Police Commission of which he is Chairman dismissed former Moises Padilla town police chief PCpt. Allan Reloj, PMSg. Ricardo Campos Dingcong Jr., PCpl. Nobel Perante, PCpl. Felix Corejado Pesales Jr., Pat. Michael Mondido, and Pat. Darryl Ducay Dormido.
He said that the Napolcom investigation of the incident proved that they committed grave misconduct and grave irregularities in the performance of their duties leading to their dismissal.
In 2017, Garcia-Yulo and her husband Felix Mathias Feria Yulo were illegally accosted and harassed by the six police officers headed by Reloj. While driving along Barangay Crossing Magallon in Moises Padilla, they were signaled to halt for a vehicular search by the said cops which the Napolcom found to be election-related.
The six dismissed cops were accused of conducting an illegal checkpoint, performing unlawful arrest upon the Yulo couple, and performing an illegal search and seizure of the vehicle of the couple in violation of the 2013 PNP Police Operational Procedures and Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2016-002.
Año said that “The search performed by the respondents on the complainants was unlawful because aside from violations of the PNP Police Operational Procedures, they also failed to prove the area where the checkpoint was placed was within their immediate control.”
Moreover, he lauded the PNP and Napolcom’s extensive investigation of the incident. “Isa itong tagumpay ng PNP at Napolcom. We commend them for their impartial investigation of the Yulo case.”
The Napolcom order also directed that aside from dismissal from service, the six police officers’ eligibility and retirement benefits are forfeited. They are further banned from holding any public office.
As the 2022 election approaches, Año reminds the PNP as well as politicians to learn from the Garcia-Yulo case classified as “political harassment” as then Vice Mayor Garcia-Yulo was a political rival of then Moises Padilla mayor Magdaleno Peña in the 2019 elections. He said that the police force should always remember that they are non-partisan public servants.
“Hindi tayo papayag na gagamitin ang puwersa ng kapulisan ng PNP sa maruming laro ng politika at pambabastos sa batas. This dismissal comes at a proper time to remind the politicians and the PNP to play fair and within the bounds of law especially during the election season,” he pointed out. DILG.GOV.PH