Bacolod City – Camp Crame confirmed recently the relief of the entire Santa Catalina police force in Negros Oriental, amid continuing investigations into the killing of Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others on March 4.
PLt. Col. Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of the PNP Special Investigation Task Group, justified the replacement of personnel of Santa Catalina Police Station and Bayawan Police Station, as the PNP is placing “fresh legs on the ground,” in line with the ongoing pursuit operations against suspects that are still at large.
The 56 personnel of the Santa Catalina Police Station were transferred to the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, where the 76 personnel of the Bayawan City Police Station are also temporarily assigned.
Pelare said the new police officers assigned in Bayawan City and Santa Catalina have the “endurance” in running after the remaining suspects, as five have already been accounted for in pursuit operations.
According to the police, the five suspects were all accounted for in Bayawan City, where one died in a gun battle while the rest were arrested. The getaway vehicles of the suspects were also recovered there, along with the discovery of a cache of firearms used in the commission of the crime.
Pelare, however, cannot explain why personnel of the Pamplona Police Station, where the massacre took place, have not been replaced.
Interior Secretary Benjamen “Benhur” Abalos Jr. ordered the replacement of all police personnel in Negros Oriental following the assassination of Degamo last weekend. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)