DILG orders Napolcom to strip Guo of police powers

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
DILG orders Napolcom to strip Guo of police powers
Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo in this May 7, 2024
Facebook / Sen. Risa Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos has ordered the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to remove the police power of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo.

“Local officials have supervision over the police, so I have instructed the Napolcom to initiate proceedings for the withdrawal of the mayor’s deputization, meaning, after the investigation, with sufficient grounds, we would withdraw the deputization of Mayor Guo as the consequences of the privileges attached are revoked immediately, including its control and supervision of its local police,” Abalos said at a press conference yesterday.

At the same time, Abalos disclosed that government lawyers would formally file a complaint against Guo after the Office of the Ombudsman said that a case against her should be forwarded to order the preventive suspension against the Bamban mayor.

“I want to clarify that the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) has no power to order the preventive suspension (against Guo). We have no authority to dismiss an individual. We also have no power to suspend a person even to issue a reprimand. That’s not within the power of DILG. I want to clarify that because people are expecting,” Abalos said.

He added that he could only order an investigation and forward the result of the probe to the ombudsman.

“We created a task force. This is a seven-man team and we had already submitted our findings to the Office of the Ombudsman. If they want us to file a complaint, that’s not a problem. We will file a complaint against her,” Abalos said.

The DILG chief has recommended putting Guo under preventive suspension for alleged “serious illegal acts” involving Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO).

The DILG has recommended to the ombudsman the issuance of a preventive suspension against Guo to prevent any influence on the continuing investigations of the agency and other agencies, according to Abalos.

He did not specify the illegal acts committed by Guo, as he said that this is part of a courtesy to the ombudsman.

The seven-man task force, headed by Benjamin Zaballa of the DILG Internal Audit Service, was formed in April to investigate the allegations on Guo’s link to an illegal POGO in her municipality.

Abalos said they have yet to finish their investigation on the citizenship issues surrounding Guo.

The interior secretary again explained that they would refer any action to the ombudsman, which has the disciplinary authority over elected officials of local governments, and that the DILG has no power to directly suspend or dismiss local officials.

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