Calabarzon police chief sacked over death of Siman aide

Posted at 01/15/2013 3:08 PM | Updated as of 01/15/2013 8:20 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II on Tuesday ordered the relief of the Calabarzon police regional director following the killing of an alleged member of the Vic Siman group.

PNP-Region 4A Director James Melad and the other operatives involved in the police raid in San Juan, Batangas that resulted in the death of Fernando "Pandoy" Morales were removed from their posts.

"We have relieved the officials associated with the incident in order to ensure a transparent and truthful investigation," Roxas told ANC.

Other police officers relieved from their posts were Supt. Raul Tacaca, Chief Insp. Rodolfo Ama, Supt. Elpidio Ramirez, who is the acting chief of San Juan Police, and Batangas provincial director Supt. Rosauro Acio.

Roxas earlier expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the raid, questioning why it was conducted before dawn on Monday.

"Some of the questionable aspects include the serving of a warrant at 1:30 in the morning and again, how could properly trained policemen not contain a situation where they apparently had overwhelming force?" he asked.

In a press briefing at Camp Crame Tuesday afternoon, Roxas said: “Sa madaling salita, nawalan ng kumpiyansa ang Pangulo sa pamumuno ni Melad. Bunga ito ng mga insidente sa Quezon, ngayon sa Batangas and several other incidents prior to that. Mas mabuti para walang whitewash at walang pagcocoverup, marelieve muna ang pamunuan nang sa ganun ay magkaroon ng full and transparent investigation sa mga bagay na ito."

Roxas said PNP Chief Alan Purisima has already formed a separate fact-finding team in San Juan to look into the alleged raid that resulted in the death of Morales.

Morales, an alleged aide of Siman who was killed in a police encounter in Atimonan, Quezon last January 6, was shot dead at around 2 a.m. Monday allegedly after fighting the policemen.

However, his wife Merlita said her husband was unarmed and could not have fought back due to large number of the policemen.

Merlita said her husband was accosted while policemen locked her up inside their room. She then heard several shots being fired.

She also questioned the way the police conducted the operation. She said the policemen told her they have a search warrant but were not able to present any document.

The Morales family believes Pandoy was killed because of his supposed knowledge of the alleged shootout in Atimonan. Merlita, however, insisted that her husband was never involved in Siman's alleged jueteng activities. -- With reports from Edwin Sevidal, dzMM; Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com