CEBU CITY, Philippines- The ambush of Clarin, Misamis Occidental Mayor David Navarro while accompanied by the police has caused the relief of the chief of police here. Central Visayas Police Regional Director Brig. Gen. Valeriano De Leon said that his action is “administrative relief” however so that Col. Gemma Vinluan will be available for the investigation that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has conducted over the gun attack last October 25.
“I already relieved the city director, administrative, to pave the way of impartial investigation,” De Leon said in a chance interview in the Central Command (Centcom). Vinluan, he said, can comeback depending on the outcome on the NBI probe on the ambush of Navarro while accompanied by a police convoy to have an inquest in the city prosecutors office on the supposed charges that would have been filed against the slain Mayor.
“Pag natapos na ito tingnan natin yung (after its finished we will see the) recommendation if there will be lapses on her part, baka matuloy na malipat pero kung wala naman ibabalik ko siya (she might be transferred but if none, I will put her back),” De Leon told the local press while waiting for the Centcom turn-over of command from Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina to Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan.
Navarro got entangled with two massage attendants in an uptown hotel last October 23 where he allegedly hurt a masseur and later committed an act of lasciviousness against a masseuse for alleged fondling of his genitalia.
The massage attendants filed the complaints to the police that led to the arrest of Navarro on his way to board a flight in the Mactan Cebu International Airport based on hot pursuit. But when the charges were about to be filed the gun attack happened as the police convoy was traversing M. Velez Street en route to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s office. The ambush prompted President Duterte to order the NBI to investigate the incident, insinuating that the police might have a hand in it.
Pres. Duterte instructed the police to turn-over all documents and pieces of evidence on the case to the NBI. Gen. De Leon said the order of President Duterte is a welcome development so that the police will be spared of any suspicions of cover-up. “That is a welcome development, that will also prevent us from the perception that there will be a whitewash. It will spare us from the suspicion on covering certain items,” De Leon said. Vinluan will be replaced by Col. Geovanie Maines in concurrent capacity as Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRDO) of the Police Regional Office (PRO7).
Vinluan who will be temporarily placed in the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (RPHAU) said that she is ready for the investigation. “That is expected kasi even in the previous interview sa akin, sinabi ko narin na the Cebu City Police is open for investigation and to find out if we have lapses during the incident,” Vinluan said in a statement.
Vinluan assumed office in July this year and has been largely credited for the seizure of at least P236 million of illegal drugs where not a single drug suspect was killed in the police operation. Vinluan said that she knew her men and is confident that no one from the Cebu City Police Office have participated in the ambush of Navarro. Navarro has been linked to the Alferez robbery group in Ozamiz City, a remnant of the Kuratong Baleleng that has been run by the late Octavio “Ongkoy” Parojinog.
The sons of Parojinog, Renato and Reynaldo, who are also both dead have been also linked to Navarro, police intelligence reports said. The police is pursuing a lead that the Alferez group is responsible for the P136 million JCentre Mall robbery in Mandaue City last October 19, days before the gun attack on Mayor Navarro./AAJ