Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan made an appeal to all the members of Samar Police Provincial Office (SPPO) to dedicate themselves protecting the people and ensuring peace and order in the province.
“I hope that you will do your job as police officers, enforcing the law, protecting the people and should not in any way indulge in political activities especially for this coming elections because politics is a politicians’ business,” Tan stressed.
The governor assured that her family never use or influence the local police for their political gains.
Addressing the graduation ceremony of the 20-member of Special Weapons and Armory Tactics (SWAT) Team at the SPPO, Tan express emotionally her discontent and disillusion on the relief of the SPPO Provincial Director who was barely 5 months in office. “I don’t really know the reason behind why there is such a drastic move in relieving Pelobello when in fact he was performing well.”
Senior Supt. Elmer Pelobello was relieved November 23, 2015 on orders from the higher ups which the governor was caught unaware of such move until she got an information that there is a sudden change of command happening at the SPPO.
As of press time, the newly installed police provincial director Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot have not yet paid a courtesy call to the Office of the Governor as a matter of protocol.
Last November 22, a day before he received relief order, Pelobello led “one time, big time” operation in Calbayog City which one wanted person was killed in a shootout with law enforcers when he tried to resist arrest, invited 30 individuals for verification, confiscated of suspected illegal drugs, assorted drug paraphernalia, a grenade, one short firearm and ammunitions.
Samar SWAT demonstrate a Hostage Crisis Rersponse as part of their graduation exercises at the Samar Police Provincial Office in Catbalogan City
Earlier to the November 22 operation, the SPPO under Pelobello, captured a highway robbery suspects in Pinabacdao town.
During the short stint of Felobello, the SPPO was recognized as the top performer in the whole Eastern Visayas Region by the Regional Police Office 8 (PRO8) in the implementation of “Lambat-Sibat” operation that significantly reduced criminality.
It was learned that establishing and training of SWAT team is through the initiative of Pelobello with the support of the Provincial Government of Samar.
In an interview with the local media, Supt. Joseph Pensotes, Samar police deputy provincial director for administration and operations, said the 20 policemen will serve as elite force of the province.
“We will deploy them in areas where they are needed most. They have commitment to stay in the province for five years,” Pensotes said.
Tan, who earlier publicly pronounced that she has been supporting the presidential bid of Roxas, said they are very concerned with the recent series of killings in Calbayog City and Sta. Margarita town, involving political supporters.
Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, a former representative of the first district of Samar, said the DILG is committed to preventing election-related violence in Samar.
“There is a standing order to ensure that private armies in Samar are neutralized and to ensure safety of our people there,” he said.
Sarmiento’s brother is running for congressman in Samar’s first district against Calbayog City Councilor Raymund Uy, the governor’s political ally.
“I would not want to comment on something that is political in nature now that I am the DILG Secretary. We’re dealing with government official coming from different political parties. I will have to leave political questions with the party,” Sarmiento told reporters in an earlier interview in Tacloban.
Samar province has been listed as one of “concerned areas” during election period due to its history of violence and the presence of private armed groups backed by politicians. (With reports from PNA).