Crame relieves HPG men in Archival slay
FOUR officers of the regional PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) implicated in the ambush-slay of lawyer Noel Archival and two of his aides were relieved from their posts and ordered to report to the Philippine National Police headquarters, Camp Crame.
In an order dated April 16, Chief Supt. Arrazad Subong, head of the PNP Highway Patrol Group, ordered the relief of Senior Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, HPG-7 director; Senior Supt. Joselito Lerion; Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara, and SPO4 Edwin Galan.
The four HPG-7 officers were ordered to report to the Personnel Holding Administrative Section.
Supt. Rommel Ochave of the PNP intelligence division was designated as the new HPG-7 head.
A separate relief order is expected to be issued against PO1 Alex Bacani who was also tagged in the fatal shooting of Archival and his aides.
But the lawyer of the relieved police officers belittled the relief order.
“It’s a normal action coming from the PNP hierarchy to restore and restraint the movements of policemen who are facing criminal charges,” said lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, the legal counsel of the five HPG policemen.
He said his clients are on “floating status” and are “restricted to camp” pending resolution of the criminal and administrative charges filed against them.
A five member team of prosecutors is conducting preliminary investigation to determine if there is probable cause to file multiple murder and frustrated murder before the court against Iglesia, Lerion, Mara, Galan, and Bacani.
They are also facing a separate investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas for using impounded vehicles in attacking the victims.
Archival, along with his companions Candido Miñoza, Alejandro Jaime, and Paolo Cortes were ambushed inside their vehicle while traversing the national road in Dalaguete town, south Cebu in the afternoon of Feb. 18, 2014. Only Cortes, Archival’s on-call assistant, survived the attack.
Senior Insp. Oliver Plaña, public information officer of the HPG-7, said reassigning the five policemen to Manila will allow them to easily attend the internal probe conducted by the HPG in Camp Crame.
Plaña clarified that relieved policemen continue to receive their salaries. Plaña said there will be no formal turnover of command between Iglesia and Ochave.
“The new HPG-7 director will automatically assume his post. Ochave just have to make a courtesy call to our police regional director and other senior officers before he will assume his post,” he said.
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