Sacked NCRPO chief wants AID-SOTF post?

A RANKING senior police official who was relieved from his post last Friday, wants to be reassigned to a “higher post” despite facing administrative charges for the Luneta hostage fiasco last August 23.

Director Leocadio Santiago was relieved as chief of the National Capital Regional Police Office (Ncrpo) four days after President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III ordered the filing of administrative charges against him and three other police officials for “mishandling” the hostage-taking incident.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) quickly relieved Santiago from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) after getting the nod of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and recalled him to Camp Crame to head the PNP’s Program Management Office (PMO).

But several reliable sources in Camp Crame, said that the new post, the PMO, did not sit well for Santiago, a former commander of the elite PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF) and was asking for another position.

“He (Santiago) does not like his new assignment. What he wants is…  the post of PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Task Force (AID-SOTF),” a Camp Crame-based police official privy on the positioning in the PNP said.

Another senior police official in the PNP National Headquarters said that Santiago has even asked some members of the PNP Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board (SOPPB) that he be assigned to AID-SOTF because of his rank.

“Actually AID-SOTF is a three star position and is directly under the control of the PNP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations – so he cannot be assigned there because he’s only a two-star-ranked officer,” the senior police official said.

The senior police official added that even if the SOPPB agrees to his request, he cannot be reassigned to the AID-SOTF post since he is facing an administrative case before the National Police Commission (Napolcom).

“Any PNP officer that has or facing an administrative case cannot be reassigned to a sensitive position and AID-SOTF, being a national task force is a sensitive position,” the senior police official explained.

The same police official said, AID-SOTF is considered a high position, since its scope is the whole of the country, unlike the NCRPO, which is a regional position.

“Assigning him to AID-SOTF is like giving him a promotion – and he cannot be there since he is about to face an administrative case,” the senior police official said.

Remate Tonight tried to get the side of Santiago, but he could not be reached for comment.

The Incident Investigate and Review Committee (IIRC) had earlier recommended the administrative relief of Santiago for grave neglect of duty during the hostage crisis and his case was referred by Malacanang to the National Police Commission (Napolcom).

The hostage drama, in which dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza took over a tourist bus and killed eight Hong Kong tourists, straining relations with Hong Kong and Beijing and proved an embarrassment for the President in his first months in office. Anthony Vargas

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