Administrative charges for serious irregularity in the performance of duty were recommended for filing against a former police chief of Pulupandan, and two others, Senior Supt. Celestino Guara, caretaker of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said yesterday.
The policemen are to be charged for acting as escorts of Mayor Magdaleno Peña, when he challenged the chief of staff of Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. to a boxing match at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City on March 25.
Guara, however, said the administrative charges against Police Officer 3 Ronaldo Palacios and PO2 Lelanie Lagoting will be one degree lower than that for Senior Inspector Edfel Balibadlan, the relieved police chief of Pulupandan.
Balibadlan, Palacios and Lagoting were placed under technical arrest, after their relief from the Pulupandan police on March 26. Two weeks later, the remaining 18 policemen of the town were also relieved, with the approval of the Comelec, Guara said.
The recommendation of Guara has been forwarded to the Police Regional Office 6, that will designate the presiding officer and members of the hearing board.
Balibadlan claimed he was on his way to the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office in Bacolod City to submit a report on their checkpoint compliance, when he was informed that the mayor had gone to the Capitol.
He said he was not acting as an escort of Pena, and went to the Capitol to try to pacify the mayor, who also scolded him.
Witnesses, however, said Peña was being followed by Balibadlan and other the policemen, on their way to the Capitol building.
The Pulupandan Police Station is now being manned by 22 troopers of the NOPPO Public Safety Company, with Senior Inspector Anthony Grande as the town police officer-in-charge.
Peña said he welcomed the relief of the entire police force of Pulupandan, saying that it was a “standard operating procedure” during an election period. *GPB