Escalante Mayor Melecio Yap Saturday questioned the order of the National Police Commission to suspend his administrative and operational control over the Escalante City police station, and said he was not accorded the “right of due process”.
In a resolution dated July 15, the National Police Commission headed by Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, suspended the administrative and operational control of Yap over the police, citing numerous extra-judicial killings in Escalante City, and his alleged close association with the New People’s Army.
Yap said he had not been formally informed of the complaints, and was never given time to defend himself.
After scrutinizing the Napolcom resolution, Yap said “it appears that the investigation has not maximized nor explored all possible means to come up with a fair, not even an impartial investigation”.
Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, admitted that he did not know the basis for the allegations against Yap, and said it was not the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office that had supplied the Napolcom with its data against Yap.
The Napolcom resolution, signed by Robredo and its five commissioners, said it has been alleged that Yap “provided material support to criminal elements” and “engaged in acts inimical to national security which negate the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign.
Quoting a confidential report of the Police Regional Office 6, Robredo said Yap had a close association with the local communist group and a tactical alliance with the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates.
Yap allegedly gave KG-99 and AR-15 assault rifles and a .45 caliber Colt pistol to the NPA hit squad for the purpose of eliminating Carapali Lualhati of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Bridgade, Napolcom also said.
It also said that, as a token of gratitude, the local communists had initiated violent actions to intimidate Yap’s political opponents every election period.
Yap strongly denied that he has provided weapons to the NPA hit squad to eliminate Carapali Lualhati, national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade.
He blamed his political opponents for the continued “smear campaign” against him.
As to being linked to extra-judicial killings in Escalante, Yap said no criminal or administrative complaints have been filed against him until now, and challenged his detractors to present evidence against him, and file them in court, if there is any.
As for the legality of Napolcom order, Dan Pondevilla, counsel of Yap, called it a “void decision”, and said it violates the right to due process of the mayor, as he has not been called by the Napolcom to answer, or present his side on the accusations against him.
Aside from filing a motion for reconsideration on the decision of Napolcom, Pondevilla said they may file criminal and administrative charges against those behind the order for his suspension.
Yap, however, refused to identify them, but hinted that the persons he may charge are those mentioned in the Napolcom resolution.
Querol had earlier ordered the relief of three policemen assigned at the Escalante City police station, who served as the security escort of Yap.
Yap challenged Robredo, Napolcom officials and Chief Supt. Cipriano Querol to take the necessary action against him if they have substantial evidences to back up their claims, so he can have a chance to defend himself in court.
He said the Napolcom inquiry was conducted unilaterally, without giving him a chance to present his side, and without even informing him of the complaint against him.
Earlier, Guisihan had stressed that the Napolcom order cannot be enforced yet, as he is still awaiting guidelines from Querol.*GPB