The police colonel who allegedly received a payola of P200,000 per week from self-confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones is a “trusted aide” of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa made this pronouncement in an interview over Bombo Radyo Cebu’s Bombohanay Bigtime program on Friday.
“Tua na sa ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao), gilabay nako ang pulis (colonel) nga sinaligan ni Mayor Tomas Osmeña (I sent to ARMM the police colonel who is a close aide of Mayor Tomas Osmeña),” dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa gave this response when pressed to identify the police colonel who received protection money from Sabalones.
“Mao nasuko si mayor kay gitangal nako ang mga pulis. Tua gilabay sa ARMM. Mao gyud na ang iyang gikasuk-an (That’s basically the reason why the mayor is mad at the police),” he added.
Dela Rosa, however, remained tightlipped on the identity of the police colonel whom Sabalones said has been receiving protection money from him.
Cebu Daily News tried to get a comment from Osmeña via his Facebook page but got no response.
Nagiel Bañacia, the city’s information officer, said dela Rosa’s statement was “an expected info (information)” but declined to elaborate, saying he could not issue an official statement on behalf of the mayor.
Osmeña, who is on medical leave, is expected to return to the city from the United States on Sunday, he said.
Sabalones, wanting to change his life, turned himself over to the police and squealed on his bosses and protectors last Monday.
He admitted his involvement in the illegal drugs trade and volunteered to help the police in its campaign.
Franz, a native of San Fernando town in southern Cebu, is the No. 2 drug personality in Central Visayas, next to Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, who was slain by Cebu-based policemen in Las Piñas City last June 17.
Franz and his brother Fralz, the vice mayor of San Fernando town, went to Camp Crame on Monday morning for a dual purpose: Franz, to admit his being a drug lord, and Fralz to clear his name.
Franz was not on the drug list of President Rodrigo Duterte but his brother Fralz was among the politicians identified as drug coddlers by the President last Sunday.
Vice Mayor Salabones said he was disappointed with what he claimed was a mistaken identity when Duterte publicly announced his name as among the alleged “narco-politicians.”
Franz, on the other hand, admitted assuming control of Cebu’s drug trade from Jaguar.
Dela Rosa said Franz confessed that he had been giving a “weekly payola” of P200,000 to a police colonel and other policemen in Cebu.
De la Rosa declined to identify the police colonel and the other police officers but said they were already transferred to ARMM and the Cordillera region.
In a media conference last Monday, the PNP chief could not hide his anger at the police colonel, the highest in rank among the police protectors identified by Franz.
The colonel, Franz said, is close to a police general also linked to the illegal drugs trade.
According to Franz, he gave the money to the colonel but he did not know if this colonel remitted the money to the general.
Last July 15, dela Rosa ordered the immediate relief and transfer of five colonels in Cebu. They are Supt. Rex Derilo, Supt. George Ylanan, Supt. Marvin Sanchez, Supt. Teofilo Siclot and Supt. Rodolfo Albotra.
The July 15 order from Camp Crame did not give a reason for the relief of the five officers who had been in Cebu for at least 10 years.
Derilo was directed to report to the Zamboanga Peninsula police office. He served as chief of the Regional Intelligence Division for years before he was designated head of the Regional Logistics Division before he was sent to Mindanao.
He and Ylanan led the team that killed Jaguar in Las Piñas City last June 17.
Ylanan, chief of the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) and deputy director for operations of the Cebu City Police Office, was sent to northern Mindanao.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, chief of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), also ordered the mass relief of all 67 operatives of RSOG and the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (RAIDSOTF) despite having killed Diaz and another suspected drug lord, Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria.
The RSOG and RAIDSOTF heads and operatives faced accusations of a rubout in the killing the two big-time drug personalities.
Doubts were also raised on the timing of their operations, which were done barely a month before President Duterte assumed his post, and after Diaz granted a media interview and expressed his intent to identify those involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Aside from Derilo and Ylanan, Camp Crame also ordered the transfer of Sanchez, chief of the Firearms Explosives Security Service Agency and Guards Supervisory Section (Fessags-7), to Cordillera Region.
Albotra, head of the Provincial Intelligence Branch, was sent to the Caraga Administrative Region in Mindanao, while Siclot, formerly of the Regional Headquarters Support Group, was transferred to Cagayan Valley.
Five noncommissioned officers were sent to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). They are SPO1 Francis Villamor, PO3 Frederick Ybañez, PO3 Mark Tago Aniñon and PO2 Julius Codilla while PO3 Cesar Pandong is going to the Caraga Region.