NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. called on the newly-installed police director of Negros Island Region (NIR) to work double time to stop illegal drugs.
Chief Superintendent Edmund Gonzales succeeded Chief Superintendent Renato Gumban as acting director of Police Regional Office(PRO)-NIR in rites held at Bacolod Pavillon Hotel Friday, May 19.
The turnover of command was led by Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, deputy chief for administration of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Marañon said Monday, May 22, that he was able to talk to Gonzales hours before his installation, and his impression of the region’s new top cop was good.
“I wasn’t able to attend the turnover ceremony due to prior engagement, but he (Gonzales) paid a courtesy call. He was okay,” the governor said.
He added that Gonzales, who hails from Lambunao, Iloilo, was also assigned in the province during his junior years.
Asked about his marching orders to Gonzales, Marañon said he should do better in leading the PRO-NIR.
“He should not get influenced by those who want to expand,” he added.
Gonzales also said that Negros is peaceful but the drug problem still remains.
“It’s peaceful in Negros, except for petty crimes, but the problem in drugs is still there,” he added.
Gonzales had earlier said that he will not immediately relieve policemen linked to illegal drugs as they could have been dragged to the issue due to personal motives, and that the allegations have to be thoroughly validated as part of due process.
Marañon echoed the statement of Gonzales, saying that the accusations have to be investigated first.
He cited the case of former Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) acting director, Senior Superintendent William Señoron, who was relieved from his post by Gumban due to his alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Marañon reiterated his belief that Señoron has no involvement in illegal drugs, adding that “the truth will set him free.”
Gumban had insisted that there was information before that Señoron was a protector of illegal drugs, but it was only NIR top drug suspect Ricky Serenio who was brave enough to implicate him in a sworn affidavit.
Marañon was tight-lipped when asked if he met with PNP chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa weeks ago to talk about Señoron.
There were reports that De la Rosa does not believe that Señoron was engaged in illegal drugs, to which the governor replied, “No comment.”
“It’s more than a month ago. It’s not news. It’s history,” Marañon added.
Meanwhile, the PRO-NIR has yet to submit the names of five Nocppo director recommendees to Marañon.
Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Castil Jr. currently heads the provincial police office.
While the peace and order situation in the province is manageable, Marañon urged the Negrenses to stay vigilant and not be complacent.
“We must be very prepared (for any atrocity),” he added.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 23, 2017.
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