Ebreo and the four other fired police officials met with Duterte in Malacañang yesterday afternoon but details of the meeting were unavailable as of press time.
Photo from BCPO Facebook Account
Palace defends firing of Bacolod police chief
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday insisted President Duterte has basis for firing Bacolod City’s police chief even if the Philippine National Police (PNP) had said the dismissed law enforcer was not in the watchlist of officials involved in narcotics. 

Duterte on Saturday announced the relief of Bacolod City police chief Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo and four other policemen allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Also removed from their posts were Supt. Nasruddin Tayuan, Supt. Richie Makilan Yatar, Senior Insp. Victor Paulino and Senior Supt. Allan Rubi Macapagal.

Duterte claimed Ebreo’s involvement in narcotics has made the people of Bacolod City “miserable.” He also accused the four policemen of protecting drug syndicates. 

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, however, confirmed two days later that Ebreo was not in the watchlist of police officials reportedly into illegal drugs. 

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said he does not yet know the extent of Ebreo’s participation in illegal drugs. 

“But the President has relieved him precisely because perhaps he saw evidence that he was involved,” Panelo said at a press briefing. “The President has other sources of information… lots of tentacles of intelligence.”

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said he and Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya had requested for a change of police leadership in the city even last year.

They claimed they were no longer comfortable working with Ebreo, citing an instance when he did not inform them about the visit of their political opponents in the city.

Ebreo and the four other fired police officials met with Duterte in Malacañang yesterday afternoon but details of the meeting were unavailable as of press time. 

The President has been dismissing and embarrassing incumbent and retired police officials whom he accused of coddling drug lords. 

Among the incumbent and former law enforcers accused by Duterte of involvement in narcotics were Joel Pagdilao, Edgardo Tinio, Marcelo Garbo Jr., Bernardo Diaz and Vicente Loot, who is now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu. They have denied having links with drug syndicates and have expressed belief that the President was misinformed. 

Duterte won the presidency by a landslide in 2016 on the platform of ending illegal drugs and corruption. He had vowed to finish the narcotics trade within the first six months of his term but admitted later on that it was not doable because of the seriousness of the problem.  – With Gilbert Bayoran

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