PNP chief Bacalzo fires ‘negligent’ NCRPO chief

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Director General Raul Bacalzo yesterday relieved National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Leocadio Santiago Jr. following Malacañang’s recommendation that an administrative case be filed against the latter for his participation in the bloody Aug. 23 hostage-taking fiasco.

In an interview during a surprise visit at the Manila Police District (MPD) yeaterday afternoon, Bacalzo revealed that his order may not be implemented soon because of the prevailing order from the Commission on Elections that bans the transfer of government officials during election period.

“I have announced that and asked him (Santiago) to be relieved from his position. Following the announcement of the President, we already asked the Comelec for us to be allowed to relieve Santiago from his post and appoint a new NCRPO chief,” Bacalzo said.

He added that Santiago had been slapped with administrative relief following the recommendation of President Benigno Aquino III to file complaint against the NCRPO director.

He said that once the Comelec gives its nod to their request, Santiago will be immediately transferred to PNP Headquarters Support Group at Camp Crame in Quezon City. He, however, declined to name who will replace Santiago from his post.

“We have been conducting meetings as of the moment to see who will fit the position that will be vacated by the Santiago,” he said.

Former PNP Spokesman and now Police Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon) head, Chief Supt. Nicanor Bartolome is being groomed to replace Santiago.

Last Monday, Aquino had recommended the filing of administrative charges against Santiago for less grave neglect of duty, as well as Police Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay for gross incompetence and serious neglect of duty, Police Supt. Orlando Yebra for neglect of duty, and Police Chief Inspector Santiago Pascual III for gross incompetence, all violations of the PNP Uniform Rules all in connection with the hostage-taking fiasco.

The PNP chief also said that Magtibay will also be brought back to Camp Crame while Pascual and Yebra will remain at the NCRPO headquarters in Taguig City.

On the other hand, Bacalzo encouraged the MPD men and women not to be distracted with the series of “unfortunate” events that had happened in the police force. He also assured that those slapped with administrative charges will be accorded due process. Jing Villamente

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