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Bato mayor says police chief’s relief necessary

By Cet Dematera

Bato, Catanduanes --- Mayor Juan Rodulfo said that his decision to relieve his town’s chief of police was his judgement call and not an offshoot of any advice or recommendation from anybody.

Rodulfo has ordered the relief from post of Bato police chief Capt. Ariel Buraga after he posted in his Facebook account his comment on the gruesome killing of a mother and her son in Panique, Tarlac by a policeman.

Buraga posted: “My Father is a policeeeee Mannnnn ha!!! I don’t care eh eh eh eh eh er!!! P@#Yng ina mo gusto mo tapusin na kita ngayon???? Bang Bang Bang Bang..Lesson Learn kahit puti na ang buhok o ubanin na tayo, eh matuto tayong rumispeto sa ating mga Kapulisan..Mahirap kalaban ang Pagtitimpi at pagpapasensya..RIP Nanay and Totoy.”

A certain Shiela Mae Tanael commented on Buraga’s post, asking “So sinasabi nyo sir kasalanan po ni nanay kong bakit sya nabaril ng pulis kasi wala syang respeto ?

Buraga replied: “opo (yes).”

Rudolfo said that after reading Buraga’s and Tanael’s posts, he watched the video of the Tarlac shooting twice.

“After watching two times the video of the shooting by the police of the victims, I immediately drafted the letter addressed to our PD (provincial director of Catanduanes) to ask his immediate relief. I did not consult anybody about my decision. I did even mind calling Buraga. It’s my judgement call,” Rodulfo told Bicol Mail in a phone interview.

He said he immediately sent the letter to Catanduanes provincial director, Col. Brian Castillo to request the relief of Buraga.

“In fact, I did not recommend any name as Buraga’s replacement. I just want him to be immediately removed as police chief of my town,” Rudolfo said.

He said he also waited for Buraga to post a message to condemn the killing.

“But he did not do it. This means that he really stood by his decision,” Rodulfo said.

Rodulfo said that another reason why he sought the immediate relief of Buraga was due to the reactions by his constituents and by the public against the police chief and his presence in Bato.

“It appears that he is protecting more the police than the civilians,” Rodulfo said.

But the Bato mayor said he recognized the good performance of Buraga as the town’s police chief before his controversial Facebook post.

Lt. Fidel Romero was designated by the police regional office as officer-in-charge of Bato Municipal Police Station in lieu of Buraga.

For his part, Bicol police director BGen. Bartolome Bustamante, said the local chief executive (LCE) could replace his/her police should he decide to.

“The LCE has the power to select his COP (chief of police) from the list of recommendees as submitted by the PD (provincial director), in the same vein, he has the power to recommend the relief of his COP,” Bicol police spokesperson Maj. Malou Calubaquib said.

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