‘Most wanted’

COMMONSENSE - Marichu A. Villanueva - The Philippine Star

At least 19 police station commanders in Davao City have been relieved from their posts. Their relief from posts was ordered by Southern Mindanao regional police office chief Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre. The latest rigodon obviously had the imprimatur of the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The latest mass relief of police station chiefs in Davao City happened again at the home residence of former president Rodrigo Duterte.

On the same day, Police Colonel Lito Patay assumed as the new chief of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), replacing Police Col. Rolindo Suguilon as officer-in-charge (OIC). Torre reassigned the 19 police officers and spread them out to various posts in Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental as well as in Davao del Norte and at the regional office. And they were replaced by those also coming from different parts of the region.

Prior to his new post, Col. Patay once served as chief of the Tagum City police office in Davao del Norte. From Tagum, Patay was transferred to Police Station 6 in Batasan, Quezon City during the Duterte administration. Col. Patay was recently summoned by a House committee on human rights of the 19th Congress that looked into the reported extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of illegal drug suspects and other criminals during his watch as Station 6 police in Quezon City.

By way of a joke, the surname of Col. Patay is the Tagalog word for “dead” (if used as a noun) or “kill” (if used as a verb). It depends on how you pronounce it. But if you say it twice “patay-patay,” it means slowpoke.

Levity aside, the new DCPO chief spent most of his career as a police officer in the Davao region, according to his own testimony before Congress. But he hails from Siquijor and graduated from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class of 1996. Previously serving only as the OIC, Col. Patay was then Deputy Regional Director for Operations at Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 when he replaced Davao City Director Col. Richard Bad-ang, who was earlier relieved due to the suspicious deaths of seven suspects involved in drug trafficking and illegal drugs.

The death of seven suspects came after Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, youngest son of the former president, declared an all-out war against illegal drugs during Bad-ang’s turnover of command ceremony at DCPO. Installed as DCPO chief in March this year, Bad-ang was relieved three months later.

Police Regional Office 11 spokesperson Maj. Catherine de la Rey claimed the latest en masse relief was not related to the bungled June 10 raid of Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) properties in Davao City. The DCPO police was part of the team serving search and warrants of arrest against the fugitive KOJC pastor Apollo Quiboloy. “Trabaho lang ito. (It’s just work). Nothing personal or political,” Dela Rey averred.

Before the KOJC raid, the PNP first tried to recover in April 26 this year the 19 firearms licenses issued to Quiboloy. However, Quiboloy has reportedly sold 14 of his 19 firearms before the PNP could revoke their licenses. Only five of Quiboloy’s firearms were turned over to the PNP. Quiboloy purportedly sold six guns to one Cresente Canada, one of his co-accused, in December 2023. While five guns were transferred to other persons also bearing the same surname Canada.

By his own public admission, Mr. Duterte also has his own firearms cache.

To borrow the favorite quip of our late publisher Max Soliven: Sanamagan!

By definition of our law enforcement authorities, two or more persons with firearms are considered a “private armed group.”

According to Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the government is targeting to dismantle 23 private armies, mostly located in Mindanao, to ensure a peaceful conduct of the elections next year. During our Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum last week, Galvez noted 16 private armies have already been dismantled, from which 100 firearms have been confiscated under the present administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Quiboloy, spiritual adviser of ex-President Duterte, has evaded service of court-issued warrants against him. He and five others have pending warrants of arrest over charges of child abuse in a Davao court. An arrest warrant was also issued by a Pasig court for Quiboloy for human trafficking charges. Four of Quiboloy’s co-accused turned themselves in, while another was earlier arrested by National Bureau of Investigation agents. All five have posted bail but Quiboloy remains at large.

The Senate also had earlier issued an arrest order against Quiboloy for “unduly refusing to appear despite due notices” at public hearings on his alleged involvement in the sexual abuse of his members and human trafficking issues.

Over 100 policemen from various PNP units stormed the KOJC properties. However, they were repelled by Quiboloy’s loyal supporters who fought back at the police raiders. Mr. Duterte subsequently strongly denounced as “over kill” the police raid done on the KOJC compound.

Aside from our local courts, Quiboloy is also included in the “wanted” fugitives list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. The US Department of Justice charged Quiboloy in 2021 with trafficking girls and women aged 12 to 25 to allegedly work as personal assistants. The FBI denied claims made by Quiboloy of a supposed $2-million “bounty” or reward money put up for his arrest and turnover to American federal authorities.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos offered a P10-million bounty against Quiboloy at a press conference last Monday. Abalos also issued a stern warning to anyone coddling a fugitive of the law could also face possible criminal charges.

Both Abalos and PNP Director General Rommel Francisco Marbil at the same press conference concurred that ex-president Duterte could face criminal liabilities over the latter’s public remarks that he knows where Quiboloy is hiding but “won’t tell” authorities.

Anyone with tips that will lead to Quiboloy’s arrest as “most wanted” fugitive in the Philippines will become P10 million richer.

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