15 Sara town cops relieved from posts
Jennifer P. Rendon (The Freeman) - August 17, 2018 - 12:00am

Iloilo City, Philippines — A police station but with no policeman in sight.


That’s exactly what greeted Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, director of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO), when he made an unannounced inspection at Sara Municipal Police Station recently.

More than being surprised, Tayaba said: “Galit ako. It happens at a time that we repeatedly told each and every police station and unit to be on alert,” he said.

The police station was not exactly without an occupant, only that there was no one at the desk or at the station lobby. The supposed-to-be desk officer was inside a room. And as it might be guessed, he was sleeping.

The other one was, also, sleeping but at a portion just outside the police station. “He was in civilian clothes and was carrying an M16 armalite rifle when called,” Tayaba said.

When he did the inspection, Tayaba was with Vice Mayor Jesus Salcedo, who was the one who made their presence felt by calling on the policemen, saying, "Tagbalay!" a local greeting before entering a house.

“Vice Mayor Salcedo was the one who roused them from sleep,” Tayaba said. But the vice mayor has reportedly declined to execute an affidavit on what he witnessed.

Other policemen were then called over and immediately ordered to report to the police station. At that time, Senior Inspector Gilbert Baldevarona was the town’s chief of police. “Pinagalitan ko talaga sila,” Tayaba said.

It was gathered that before going to the police station, Tayaba scoured the vicinity to look for policemen who might be rendering police visibility or foot patrol. “I was using my personal vehicle. I parked at the plaza and saw no police personnel,” he added.

Tayaba said he expected that they could have been at the police station, because no one was apparently outside to render visibility patrol. There were 28 policemen assigned at Sara PNP. Tayaba said he expected at least 14 to 18 policemen on duty when he made the rounds.

Baldevarona was later relieved, along with several town police chiefs, in a reshuffling of “low performing” field commanders. As of August 7, Tayaba said he relieved 15 policemen, including Baldevarona.

It turned out that Tayaba’s inspection was to confirm an earlier inspection made by Senior Superintendent Jesus Cambay, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) deputy regional director for operations.

During Cambay’s inspection, he found out that the two detainees were also the ones guarding the lock-up cell facility. The two were allowed to go out and acted as “strikers.”

It was last year when Sara policemen were considered to be relieved from post. But the IPPO leadership gave them a chance to improve. As it turned out, it was a second chance gone to waste.


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