SAN ANTONIO, Nueva Ecija – Criminal and administrative complaints have been filed against Central Luzon’s top police officer for removing the chief of police here which allegedly derailed the municipal Covid-19 response plan.
Police Regional Office 3 director Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia was haled to the Office of the Ombudsman for grave abuse of authority by Mayor Arvin Salonga over the relief of Maj. Roderick Corpuz in the middle of fight against coronavirus disease pandemic in July.
The complaints against Sermonia were received by the Ombudsman on Aug. 12, records showed.
In his complaint, Salonga said the working relationship between the LGU and the police “was exemplary” as Corpuz was “committed in the strict and effective implementation of the programs and executive orders issued by the LGU especially during this time that the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The mayor said Corpuz had been “effectively implementing strict border patrol, a measure that has effectively contained the spread of Covid-19 within the municipality, until the officer was transferred to Tarlac City.”
“With the sudden and unsystematic transfer,” the compliant reads, “said programs were already abandoned and as a result, the Covid-19 positive cases in the municipality have increased due to the absence of checkpoints in designated areas/boundaries that would filter the health conditions of individuals coming to the municipality.”
According to the municipal health office, this municipality has nine confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Aug. 9 which include a patient who arrived with cough, colds and fever in Barangay Julo on July 31.
The sale of illegal drugs has also started to surface, it added.
Salonga stressed that Sermonia’s order “abruptly”relieving Corpuz violated Sec. 63 of Republic Act 8551 which provides authority to city or municipal mayor to choose the chief of police from a list of five eligible officers recommended by the provincial police director, preferably from the same province, city or municipality.
The “haphazard transfer” of Corpuz despite the absence of any emergency that would justify it and failure to observe Sec. 63 of RA 8551 was even violative of RA 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the mayor said in his complaint.
Records showed Corpuz was one of five police majors and a colonel who were reassigned from their respective posts in Nueva Ecija to Bulacan, Tarlac and Pampanga provinces per special order number PRO3-SO-RA-2020-1565 dated July 15, 2020 signed by Col. Rommel Batangan, chief of Regional Personnel and Records Management Division.