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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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‘No politics in raps vs.
Escalante cops’

Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, yesterday refuted insinuations that politics may be behind  the recommendation of Task Group Escalante to file administrative charges against Chief Inspector Santiago Rapiz and 14 policemen under his command.

“What politics they are talking about?” Guisihan asked, adding, “I don’t even (personally) know them”.

He said it was only Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. whom he had informed about recommendations of Task Group Escalante, before the release of information to the media.

Guisihan said he was told by Marañon “to be fair to everyone”.

The Task Group Escalante, which has been tasked to investigate deeper into the series of killings in Escalante since 2007 up to last year, has recommended the filing of administrative charges against Rapiz and 14 other policemen assigned in Escalante for serious neglect of duty, and less grave misconduct, respectively.

Analee Urbano, wife of the slain policeman, had claimed that Escalante policemen arrived at the scene of incident, an hour after her husband was shot by the gunmen, who identified themselves as NPA members.

Escalante Mayor Melecio Yap, however, described the investigations of the Task Group Escalante as “biased and one-sided”, saying the investigators did not even solicit explanations from the policemen-respondents.

Yap also justified the action of Escalante policemen at the cockpit, in not engaging the armed rebels in a gunbattle, saying many civilians could have been killed or injured if they opted to fight with the armed assassins.

Guisihan, however, described as “shameful” the attitude of the seven policemen assigned at the Escalante City Police Station, for doing nothing, while Urbano, a police intelligence officer, was being shot by suspected NPA hitmen at the cockpit in Brgy. Balintawak, Escalante City.

Urbano served as a security escort of former Escalante Mayor Santiago Barcelona, who lost to Yap in the May 2010 mayoral race in Escalante City, Negros Occidental.

Guisihan said he retained Rapiz as Escalante police chief and did not order the relief of seven members of the Escalante police who then composed the alert team, because he sees no sign that they can influence the outcome of the pre-charge investigations to be conducted against them.

He, however, said he will order the immediate relief of the seven policemen who were at the cockpit, when Urbano was gunned down.

Policemen are  barred from entering cockpits.

Maintaining that he has not been remiss in his duty, Rapiz said he is  ready anytime to comply with legal orders of his immediate superiors.* GPB




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