Santander is deputy commander for a day
He had just assumed the position of Deputy Cebu City Director for Operations last Friday after receiving his orders last Tuesday, the second highest position in the Cebu City Police Office.
Instead, Supt. Romeo Santander will have to report to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of PRO-7 today and will be turned over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for investigation.
One policeman, supposedly assigned in Barili, was not really assigned there and another one had already retired.
Santander was included in the list of mayors, police officers and judges allegedly coddling drug lords or involved in some way with illegal drugs, which President Rodrigo Duterte read to media at dawn yesterday during a press conference in Davao City.
He, along with the police officers in the Visayas included in the Duterte list, were all ordered relieved by Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño.
The other police officers in Cebu who were on the list were PO2 Michael Cortez and SPO1 Onel Nabua of the Barili Police Station, SPO1 Jen dela Victoria of the Carbon Police Station in Cebu City, PO2 Jomar Ibanez of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office and PO3 Ryan Martus Kiamco of the Cebu Provincial Office.
From a rank and file policeman, Santander rose through the ranks and became the chief of the City Intelligence Branch (CIB) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
His carreer path seemed to be rosy until the fateful Sunday dawn revelation by the President.
Santander, a native of Surigao, was the recepient of the Outstanding Junior Police Officer by the Philippine National Police in 2012.
That same year, he was also one of the awardees of the Cebu City government during the Charter Day celebration.
Former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama could not believe Santander’s inclusion in the list.
“As far as I know, I have not heard of any uncalled for behavior he has done. He’s doing fine. Why was he promoted just recently if he’s not deserving? I’m dismayed with his inclusion,” said Rama who was also named as drug protector by Duterte.
Santander could not be reached for comment. Phone calls and text messages left on his phone remained unanswered.
SPO2 Ybañez was securing athletes of the Cobra IronMan 70.3 at the Shangri–La Hotel when he learned about his inclusion in the Duterte list. He was able to talk with his superior, Lapu-Lapu City Police Director, Sr. Supt. Rommel Cabagnot at 11 a.m.
According to Cabagnot, Ybañez vehemently denied any involvement in illegal drugs.
“He really denied the accusations. I told him to report to Camp Crame immediately,” Cabagnot said.
Cabagnot brought Ybañez to Taliño, who also advised him to go to Camp Crame.
Other policemen in Lapu-Lapu were surprised by Ybañez’s inclusion in the list saying they never heard any derogatory report about him.
At the Barili Police station, only PO2 Michael Cortes was assigned there. The other policeman, SPO1 Onel Nabua, had already retired.
Cortes was off duty yesterday.
According to a policeman from Toledo City, PO3 Gesite Revocato, Nabua was assigned at the Regional Intelligence Division (R2) before he retired.
“They will have their day in court and answer all the allegations on their alleged involvement in illegal drugs,” said Taliño in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
All politicians and policemen who were named by Duterte yesterday shall report to Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa at 8 a.m. today.
“That’s the instruction, including for (former) Mayor Rama,” Taliño said.
Retired General Vicente Loot who has repeatedly been identified by Duterte as a protector of big-time drug lords couldn’t be reached for comment.
Loot has denied any involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
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