The PNP Legal Service will inhibit itself in the pre-charge investigation of the charges against newly-promoted Supt. Santiago Rapiz and 14 other policemen, recommended to be held administratively liable by Task Group Escalante, for their actuations in relation to the killing of Police Officer 2 Johnny Urbano in November 28 last year, Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, provincial police director, said.
One of the members of the Task Group Escalante comes from the PNP Legal Service.
Guisihan said he wants to erase doubts of partiality that may crop up during the pre-charge investigations, and this prompted him to request that the local Internal Affairs Service take over the hearing.
Rapiz, Escalante police chief, said he is ready for any inquiry, so they can also present their side, and counter the allegations of their detractors.
He also expressed dismay that killings in Escalante City that had happened before he was assigned as police chief, had also been attributed to his leadership.
Guisihan said he will initiate a case conference on when to relieve the seven Escalante policemen, who were at the cockpit in Brgy. Balintawak, Escalante, where Urbano was assassinated.
Escalante Mayor Melecio Yap, however, justified the action of the policemen, in not engaging the armed rebels in a gunbattle, saying many civilians could have been killed or injured if they had opted to fight with them.
But, Guisihan described as “shameful” the attitude of the seven policemen assigned at the Escalante City Police Station, for doing nothing, and for fleeing from the scene of incident.
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.
Majority of the killings in Escalante City have been claimed by the NPA.*GPB