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Mayor ‘ill-advised’ on drug watch list

CEBU, Philippines - The conflict between Hinigaran Mayor Jose Nadie Arceo and his police chief, Senior Inspector Lawrence Gerald Bathan, could be attributed to wrong information given to the mayor by his advisers.

This was according to Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of  Negros Occidental.

Stressing that they have nothing personal against Arceo, Castil said he believes that the advisers of the mayor did it for personal gain, and not for his good.

Arceo and Bathan are at loggerheads over the implementation of  the anti-drug campaign in Hinigaran. Arceo wanted Bathan relieved as the town police chief for allegedly "not coordinating with him and not respecting him."

Bathan allegedly delisted the name of a drug lord in Hinigaran from the town police drug watch list.

However, Castil said the name of  the alleged drug lord was not removed, but was instead elevated to the list of high-value targets.

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Arceo said he will raise the problem to the level of PNP chief  Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, after his request for the relief of Bathan had not been acted upon by Castil and Chief Supt. Edmund Gonzales, Police Regional Office-18 director.

Arceo said he has been staying at the Hinigaran municipal hall for two nights now because of  "threats." He also criticized the town police for not making an effort against the drug lord in Hinigaran.

The Hinigaran mayor was reported to have been sporting a bullet-proof vest because of the alleged threats on his life.

But Castil said the mayor should not be alarmed about the presence of  Public Safety Company troopers in Hinigaran as it has nothing to do with the conflict in the town.

He explained that it has to do with threats of  the communist New People's Army, with PPSC troopers now leap-frogging from station to station due to lack of personnel.

"I assure him that the police will protect him from any harm," Castil said. (FREEMAN)

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