One more Cebu town relieved of all its police force over poor drug war record

Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas, director of the Regional Police Office in Central Visayas, speaks to policemen from the San Fernando Police Station who were all ordered relieved on Jan. 12, 2019, over poor performance in the war against drugs and in the wake of the broad daylight killing of Councilor Reneboy Dacalos on Jan. 10, 2019./ photo by Benjie Talisic

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Another municipal police station in Cebu went through a complete revamp, with all of the policemen at the San Fernando police ordered relieved, just  hours after a similar relief order booted out all police officers assigned in Daanbantayan town.

Just like the policemen in Daanbantayan town, Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas found the San Fernando police’s anti-drug performance poor and ordered all of them replaced by personnel from the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Regional Force Mobile Battalion (RFMB) based in Sibonga town.

Sinas, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), was particularly dissatisfied with the failure of the town police to address the killings of local officials who were linked to alleged drug lord Franz Sabalones, who is a native of the town.

According to Sinas, the policemen assigned in San Fernando were complacent as some alleged underlings of Sabalones have started to be active again in the illegal drugs trade.

Sabalones voluntary surrendered to then PNP chief  Ronald Dela Rosa on Aug. 7, 2016 after he was identified by President Rodrigo Duterte as among those involved in the illegal drug trade. He admitted that he assumed control of the drug trade in Cebu after top drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz was killed in Las Piñas City in June of the same year.

Only last January 10, a town councilor, Reneboy Dacalos, was shot dead in broad daylight in the town. The councilor was linked to Sabalones, an allegation that the slain councilor’s family has  denied.

Decalos was the second municipal councilor shot dead  in San Fernando town, 29.3 kilometers south of Cebu City, in less than a year. Councilor Alexander Alicaway,49,  was killed on March 14, 2018  just meters away from the San Fernando Police Station by two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle. His death remained unsolved.

Senior Inspector Arve Arbuis, the relieved police chief of San Fernando, will be assigned to Negros Oriental, accofding to Sinas.

Arbuis is replaced by Chief Inspector Lymel Pasquin, who used to be assigned at the PRO-7 headquarters in Cebu City.

San Fernando Mayor Neneth Reluya,  speaking to reporters at the sidelines of her  meeting with Sinas, said she was grateful that the municipality now has more policemen since Sinas sent 31 policemen to the town to replace the 22 who were relieved.

Reluya also vowed to continue to support all the campaigns initiated by the police.

Just like what happened in Daanbantayan, the relieved policemen were ordered to surrender their firearms. The same firearm will be reissued to RMFB personnel now assigned in San Fernando. /elb

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