Balungao PNP unfazed by mayor’s protest rally

‘DOUBLE BARREL’ WILL CONTINUE

TRABAHO lang, walang personalan.

This in gist was the reaction of the chief of Balungao Police Station who was unfazed by the rally staged by town and barangay officials led by the mayor himself, protesting the police’s implementation of Oplan Double Barrel and the campaign against loose firearms in the town.

P/ Sr. Inspector Raymund San Nicolas, OIC-police chief, said he didn’t expect the protest rally in front of the police station after the flag raising ceremony last Monday at 8 a.m. led by Mayor Phillip Peralta.

Peralta, who aired the people’s sentiments, questioned why the police are targeting barangay officials in the campaign.

Three barangay captains, one barangay kagawad and a driver of the mayor had been the subjects of search warrants implementation on loose firearms and are out on bail since January this year while others identified as the mayor’s supporters have been placed in the drugs watch list.

Nicolas explained to the rallyists that anyone who violates the law could be subject of search warrants.

He pointed out that all the 13 operations were done lawfully, armed with authentic search warrant issued by court judges, and with the presence of barangay officials who served as witness during each operations.

“We also observe human rights,” he added.

San Nicolas said he was dismayed by the protest rally because the station’s campaign against drugs and loose firearms are gaining headway and cited the recent arrest of Romel Baliton, second top drug personality in the town, in Barangay Rajal.

He added, occupants of the houses searched certified to the orderly search and inventory of the seized items.

San Nicolas also pointed out that when he assumed his post as OIC-police chief on Feb. 20, there was already an existing drug watch list from his predecessor, based on statements of arrested and surrendered drug personalities, identifying sources of their drugs, and confirmed by other people who knew the suspects.

San Nicolas assured the town officials that his station is closely complying with the established procedures in implementing search warrant and denied the planting of evidence against suspects.

Nakaka-dismaya po pero wala kaming magawa kung sa ganoong paraan nila naisin na gawin ang pagpapaabot ng kanilang concern especially po nakita natin na nanguna si Mayor Phillip Peralta na nandoon. Pwede naman po nila akong patawag sa office nila o kahit sa Sangguniang Bayan kung may concern sila sa ating PNP para sana nagkaroon ng dialogue, pero okay lang. Iginagalang natin ang karapatan nilang gawin yon. Nagpaliwanag naman ako sa harap nila and it was done peacefully, nakinig naman sila, nandoon din si Mayor.”, San Nicolas said.

While the police chief vehemently denied allegations that his station’s operations are targeting political allies of the mayor, he did not comment on his being the son-in-law of former Major and former Rosales Mayor Ric Riveta and wife Patricia, who ran against Peralta in 2013.

“Ayaw ko pong mag-comment sa bagay na yan, anuman ang meron sila ay ayaw kong makialam, police po ako at ginagawa ko po ang trabaho ko,” San Nicolas said.

Peralta did not respond to The PUNCH call for his comments. (Nora Dominguez/Tita Roces)