The police chief and 15 policemen of Socorro town in Surigao del Norte were relieved on Tuesday for allegedly participating in partisan political activities and for failure to solve the election-related killings of two supporters of rival mayoral candidates in the town.
Col. Ronelo Jaurigue, director of the Surigao del Norte Provincial Police Office, said Socorro police chief Lt. Nolie Magalona and 15 other police officers were relieved pending investigation of accusations they were favoring certain candidates ahead of the elections.
Jaurigue said the regional command of Caraga Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) was also dissatisfied with the way the Socorro police force was handling the investigation on the separate killings of two supporters of Socorro’s rival mayoral candidates.
According to Jaurigue, the relief of the officers would served as a stern warning to its officials and personnel to stand by the agency’s mandate of “political neutrality” throughout the 150-day election period for the upcoming midterm polls.
It is also part of the efforts of the PNP to ensure impartiality and non-partisan enforcement of the law by police officers, particularly in areas with intense political rivalry, he said.
Jaurigue warned that policemen found favoring certain candidates or allowing themselves to be used by local candidates to harass their opponents would be dealt with and face administrative charges.
The 16 sacked Socorro policemen would be reassigned to other municipalities in the province.
Magalona is replaced by Capt. Giovanni Tindoy, chief investigator of the Surigao City Police Office. By CLC