By JIGGER JERUSALEM
CAMP Crame yesterday replaced the regional director of the National Police in northern Mindanao, just three days before election day.
National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde came over and presided over the change of leadership in the police regional office.
Brig. Gen. Timoteo Pacleb was replaced by Brig. Gen. Rafael Santiago Jr. whose last assignment before becoming northern Mindanao’s police chief was with the retirement and benefits administration section of Camp Crame.
Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, Camp Alagar spokesperson, said Pacleb has been tasked to head Camp Crame’s intelligence division.
Sereñas said the new assignments of Pacleb and Santiago have been cleared by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“Every movement (within the National Police) will not be implemented if the Comelec has not cleared it,” Sereñas said.
This paper checked with neighboring Caraga and was informed that there was no change in the police leadership there — the police regional director there is still Brig. Gen. Gilberto Cruz.
Sereñas said Pacleb was promoted to Camp Crame’s directorate for intelligence after its head, Maj. Gen. Gregorio Pimentel, retired.
“Somebody has to fill his post,” he explained. “It’s a normal movement.”
Sereñas also pointed out that Pacleb was due for transfer because he has already served as the region’s police director for two years.
On Monday, Santiago would oversee the deployment of some six thousand police officers in four of Region 10’s five provinces — Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and Misamis Occidental — as part of security measures for election day.
Sereñas said Camp Alagar has 8,206 deployable police officers.
Some towns and cities of these provinces, he said, have been declared by the police as “category red,” which means these are considered as “areas of grave concern.”
He however did not name the places which were put under this category.
Meanwhile, Albayalde reminded police officers that they must not get themselves involved in partisan politics as the midterm elections near.
“Our constant reminder to them is to remain non-partisan, apolitical. We don’t meddle with the political affairs of anybody or in any locality for that matter,” Albayalde told reporters here.
He also urged voters to choose candidates who are deserving of their votes.
There are reports of cases of vote-buying in some parts of the country ahead of the Minday elections.
“Our people should always vote wisely. Of course, we don’t sell our vote. Just because you accepted some money, it doesn’t mean you have to vote those whom you received money from,” Albayalde said.
Although he maintains that the National Police is non-partisan, he appealed to the people to choose candidates “who are deserving, those who can actually help us improve our lives, not those who are just seen every three years.”
He said the police has been “relentless in our campaign against vote-buying.” (with reports from Herbie Gomez)