Policemen dismayed over Verzosa’s CDO trip

SEVERAL rank and file members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have expressed dismay over reports Director General Jesus Verzosa flew to Cagayan de Oro City at the height of the hostage-taking incident in Manila last August 23.

Verzosa earlier admitted he went to Cagayan de Oro to attend a forum, but maintained that he was on “top of the situation” during the incident.

“It’s like deserting your men in the thick of battle,” said by a middle-grade police officer who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions.

“As a commander, you should stay with your people, most especially if there’s an ongoing operation…. Leaving your men behind is almost negligence on your part as a commander,” the officer said.

Another police officer said the PNP chief should also explain why he decided to leave despite the hostage crisis.

“Is the activity there more important than what was happening here during that time?” the officer said.

“I was supposed to attend a multi-sectoral forum on regional law enforcement conference in Cagayan de Oro City… but, I was monitoring [the hostage crisis] and giving guidance,” Versoza said in a recent interview with reporters.

When asked on why he pushed through with his trip, the PNP chief said: “I was given assurance that they can handle the situation.”

Sources in Camp Crame said Verzosa was accompanied by other top police officials, including his perceived successor, Deputy Director General Raul Bacalzo, PNP Deputy chief for operations, in the trip to the south. Anthony Vargas

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