By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The National Police Commission (Napolcom) has issued a dismissal order against former Moises Padilla police chief, Police Captain Allan Reloj, and five other cops over a December 19, 2017 incident which led to the arrest of then-Moises Padilla Vice Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo and her husband.
Based on the order dated October 21, 2020 and signed by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary and Napolcom Chairman Eduardo Año, the commission found the respondents Reloj, Police Master Sgt. Ricardo Campos Dingcong Jr., Police Corporals Nobel Perante and Felix Corejado Pesales Jr., and Patrolmen Michael Mondido and Darryl Ducay Dormido “culpable for grave misconduct and grave irregularities in the performance of duty.”
Facts from the December 19, 2017 incident stated that at around 6:00 p.m. Garcia-Yulo and her husband Felix Mathias Feria Yulo were onboard a gray Mitsubishi Strada driving along the town’s Barangay Crossing Magallon when they were flagged down at a police checkpoint manned by Reloj and the five other cops.
Based on the circumstances surrounding the incident, the Napolcom believed that it was “election-related” and that the same was a form of “political harassment” as Garcia-Yulo was a political opponent of then-Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña for the 2019 elections.
Reloj and five other cops were accused of conducting an illegal checkpoint, performing unlawful arrest upon the Yulo couple, and performing an illegal search and seizure of the vehicle of the couple in violation of the 2013 Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Operational Procedures and Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2016-002.
Based on a separate statement given by Reloj and the five other cops, they claimed that the checkpoint they conducted was in compliance to a memorandum issued by then-Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) director Police Colonel Rodolfo Castil to establish border control checkpoints due to terror threats coming from the New People’s Army (NPA).
The respondents claimed that Felix was acting suspicious which is why they flagged down the couple’s vehicle. When Reloj went to the driver side of the vehicle he claimed that Felix had a handgun on his lap prompting him to order the latter to step out of the vehicle.
Reloj then claimed that Felix’s wife Ella started screaming at him and also stepped outside the vehicle and started berating the police chief.
He further claimed that he was assaulted by the vice mayor, while Felix also confronted him.
At that point the respondents seized Felix’s .45 caliber pistol. A search of the vehicle also led to the recovery of another .45 caliber pistol, ammunition, two hand grenades, and two sachets of suspected shabu.
The couple were later charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, as well as possession of illegal drugs.
A pre-charge investigation two formal charges of grave misconduct and grave irregularities in the performance of duty, pointing out that the respondents used identified [sic; unidentified] persons wearing civilian clothes only and wearing bonnets and covers on their faces.
The respondents also conducted the checkpoint in their civilian clothes, and the barangay tanods who joined the checkpoint were carrying firearms.
The Napolcom further stated that aside from dismissal from the service, the respondents’ police eligibility and retirement benefits are forfeited. Furthermore they are also banned from holding any public office.
Aside from Año, the document was also signed by Napolcom Vice Chairman and Executive Officer Atty. Rogelio Casurao, and Commissioners Felizardo Serapio Jr., Atty. Job Mangente, Zenonida Brosas, and Retired Police Gen. Camilo Cascolan./DGB, WDJ