The resolution was passed Monday, hours after the legislators pressed Supt. Alexander Tagum, chief of the Operations Division of the North Cotabato Provincial Police Command, to shed light about his alleged link to the abduction and disappearance in 2004 of Alvin Valdez, a suspected robber. Valdez was accused of masterminding the robbery of one of the biggest department stores here.
Tagum denied having anything to do with Valdez’ abduction and disappearance and added that the case is now filed in court “and that touching the merits and demerits of the case might be prejudicial to its resolution.”
Other than a criminal case on the disappearance of Valdez, administrative charges were also filed against Tagum before the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao. But these were all dismissed for lack of evidence. “The dismissal of these cases had exonerated me,” he told the councilors.
After hearing Tagum’s side, Councilor Joseph Evangelista, chair of the committee on good governance, passed a resolution endorsing Tagum to be the city’s chief of police. The resolution was unanimously approved.
Evangelista said copies of the resolution will be sent to PNP Chief Director Oscar Calderon and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
He said they would also include in their resolution the endorsement of non-government organization (NGOs) and other peoples’ organizations, including the letter of Bishop Romulo Valles of the Diocese of Kidapawan endorsing Tagum for the post of police chief.
Tagum’s endorsement by the SP was put on hold Monday last week when Councilor Rosalio Bombeo, chair of the committee on agriculture, raised the issue about Tagum’s alleged involvement in the abduction and disappearance of Valdez.
North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Pinol opposed in 2004 and this year the reinstatement of Tagum as police chief, citing the cases filed against him. Tagum was city police chief until Pinol recommended his relief that year based on a writ of habaeas corpus filed against the police officer.
Also in 2004, Kidapawan Bishop Romulo Valles and the Kutabateños Alang sa Maayong Panggamhanan (Kalampag), led a series of protest rallies in denouncing Piñol for the relief of Tagum, among others.
Last Saturday, Chief Insp. Leo Ajero, former chief of Intelligence and Anti-Vice Division of the North Cotabato Provincial Police, assumed the post of OIC chief of police from Supt. Danny Reyes who was transferred to the North Cotabato police. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews