Hinigaran Mayor Jose Nadie Arceo wants his town's police chief, Senior Insp. Lawrence Gerald Bathan, replaced for allegedly “not coordinating and respecting” him.
At a press conference in Bacolod City yesterday, Arceo said he sent a letter of request to Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil Jr., acting director of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, to relieve Bathan and replace him with a new police chief of his choice.
In his letter to Castil, Arceo said, “Recent unfolding events in the anti-drug and criminality campaign in my jurisdiction, the Municipality of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, show that a stumbling block remains as the Officer-In-Charge of the Hinigaran Philippine National Police is not cooperating with my office in the enforcement of the Municipal Anti-Illegal Drugs and Criminality Campaign.”
Under the law, the mayor exercises general operational control and supervision over the local police forces, but it looks like the other way around in Hinigaran now, Arceo said.
He said if the police chief remains uncooperative, the town cannot fully implement its campaign against illegal drugs and other criminalities.
All the 24 barangays of Hinigaran still have presence of drugs, and only 10 percent of the drug personalities have been neutralized, the mayor said.
Arceo said the conflict between him and Bathan started two weeks ago when the Hinigaran Police personnel arrested a member of his Anti-Illegal Task Force for a grave threat complaint.
The mayor said he created the Anti-Illegal Task Force to focus on the drugs problem in Hinigaran butBathan questioned his authority.
“It seems like he (Bathan) has the control over the police, on who to arrest, and on howmany they are going to arrest,” Arceo said.
Arceo said he met with Bathan to talk, but the latter allegedly recorded the conversation and plans to file abuse of authority charges against him.
The DAILY STAR reachedBathan, but he said he chose not to comment on the matter.
In the letter, Arceo requested that Chief Insp. Jake Barila be assigned as the new chief of the Hinigaran Police Station, in lieu of Bathan.
Castil, on the other hand, said they cannot immediately process the request of Arceo since the police official he wanted to replace Bathan is currently not assigned at NOCPPO.
As to the anti-drugs operations, Castil said the Hinigaran Police Station personnel headed by Bathan had many accomplishments in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“My order to them before was to conductan all-out war on illegal drugs in his area and they, indeed, have many accomplishments there,” Castil added.*SGG
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