GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 October) — A town police chief in South Cotabato was relieved from his post after allegedly firing his handgun while being interviewed by reporters of a local radio station over the supposed special treatment of two suspects detained at the police station.
Sr. Supt. Franklin Alvero, South Cotabato police director, said Friday he ordered the relief of Chief Insp. Geovanni Ladeo, officer-in-charge of the Polomolok municipal police station, in connection with the ongoing investigation of the incident.
He said Ladeo was also disarmed of his government-issued 9mm pistol that was reportedly used in the alleged indiscriminate firing case.
“We’re currently investigating what really happened. Rest assured that we will not tolerate any wrongdoing by any of our personnel,” Alvero said.
A report released by radio station dxES Bombo Radyo said reporters Luna Bernard Bacalanmo and Edna Mendoza went to the Polomolok police station on Wednesday afternoon to interview Ladeo regarding the status of two barangay chairs who were arrested in anti-drug raids in the area last Monday.
The reporters specifically questioned Ladeo as to why barangay chairs Vicente Yungco Jr. of Poblacion and Juner Magbanua of Koronadal Proper were held at the third floor or rooftop of the police station and not in a regular detention cell.
But the police official, who was reportedly angered by the question, turned restless and later stood up to drink water.
Bacalanmo, recalling the incident, said Ladeo suddenly fired a shot using his 9mm service pistol.
Prior to the interview, the radio station said Ladeo received a directive from his superiors to explain the supposed special treatment of the arrested barangay officials after it was referred to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald de la Rosa.
Ladeo earlier said the two barangay chairs were not placed in a regular cell as they were supposedly suffering from hypertension.
On Thursday, Bombo Radyo General Santos station manager Jonathan Macailing said Ladeo went to their station to apologize over the incident.
In various media interviews, Ladeo claimed that he did not fire his handgun infront of the two Bombo Radyo reporters.
“While I was cleaning my pistol, there was a cat that strayed in our kitchen and I fired a shot,” he said.
The police official said he fired his handgun just as the service vehicle of Bombo Radyo General Santos was about to park infront of their station.
But Bacalanmo and Macailing disputed Ladeo’s claims.
“He cocked his gun (infront of us), slammed it on a table and then fired,” Bacalanmo said.
Macailing said the two reporters have an audio clip of the incident wherein Ladeo could be heard cursing before he fired his handgun.
Alvero said Ladeo, who was replaced by his deputy Sr. Insp. Hernan Gabat, already aired his own version of the incident and they are waiting for the affidavit of the two reporters.
“Our investigators are determining whether the firing of the handgun was related to the interview,” he said.
Macailing said they will file administrative and criminal complaints against Ladeo. (MindaNews)