Saturday, June 23, 2007
CAGAYAN de Oro City – (Ben Balce / June 23) CITY police director Senior Supt. Aurelio Trampe has relieved from Cagayan de Oro Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) seven police officers.
Trampe’s order came after the police unit was caught in a controversy that stemmed from a complaint that its agents mauled and illegally arrested a man suspected to be an illegal drug dealer in Bayabas last week.
The complaint is threatening to bungle whatever case the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) has against the suspect, Renjun Catamco.
Relieved from the CDEU were SPO1 Reynaldo de la Victoria, and PO2s Joel Deloso, George Tabian Jr., Frederick Yamis, Alvin Enzel Nacaya, Fred Yasay Jr., and Ariel Lig-ang.
Authorities however said the relief order was not a penalty.
“It was not necessarily a penalty. The case is still under investigation,” said Trampe.
Unnamed CDEU personnel are facing investigation by the Cocpo’s internal affairs service for allegedly breaking the police rules in treating crime suspects when they arrested the 32-year old Catamco during a cock derby in Bayabas last weekend.
The new head of the CDEU, Insp. Exudio Vidal said the seven officers were merely affected by a revamp ordered by Trampe.
SPO1 de la Victoria, the highest ranking officer in the group, was transferred to the City Mobile Group (CMG) while Deloso, Tabian, Yamis, Nacaya, Yasay, and Lig-ang were assigned to various police station in the city.
The relief order took effect early this week.
Vidal said the relief order for the seven police officers had nothing to do with the Catamco complaint.
Trampe said the officers had to be transferred because the new CDEU chief had to bring his trusted men.
Catamco has alleged that CDEU agents violated the rules when they arrested him. His sister and other witnesses claimed officers took turns in beating Catamco, illegally arrested and illegally detained the drug suspect.
Catamco has denied any wrongdoing and maintained his innocence despite the police’s claim that he was in the barangay’s list of suspected drug pushers in Bayabas.
SPO2 Rico Justalero has maintained that the CDEU’s use of force was justified because Catamco allegedly fought back and resisted arrest.