TACLOBAN CITY-The entire police force in Calbayog City has been relieved for their failure to stop the series of killings in the city.
Among those removed was Supt. Marten Ordonia who was assigned as Calbayog police chief two months ago.
He was replaced by Supt. Salvador Tagle, deputy logistics chief based in Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas (PRO-8) headquarters in Palo town, Leyte. Ordonia was transferred to the Provincial Safety Battalion in Catarman town, Northern Samar.
At least 81 policemen assigned in Calbayog were also relieved and transferred to the Samar Police Provincial Office based in Catbalogan City, said Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, PRO-8 chief. They were replaced by policemen from the SPPO headquarters, he added.
Dolina in a phone interview said that the relief of the entire Calbayog police force was due to their failure to solve and stop the killings in the city.
Records at the Calbayog police showed that 15 people had been killed from January to May this year.
Most of the victims were village officials.
The most recent involved the killings of Dagum Village chief Rio Merencillo Lebario, 45, and barangay kagawad Dionesio Tarrago Lungsod, 55, who were attending a meeting inside the barangay hall about 10 a.m. of May 20 when two men shot them.
On May 17, an unidentified gunman shot and killed Edgar Belleza, 35 and village chief of Carayman.
During his visit to Calbayog, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas also expressed alarm over the series of killings and told the police to address these.
Dolina said that while some of the victims were barangay officials, it didn’t mean that the motives were related to politics. He said that based on their investigation, personal grudge was the motive in most killings.
He added they had filed cases and warrants of arrest had been served in some of the killings.
These killing incidents were condemned by Bishop Isabelo Abarquez calling authorities to solve them.
In the meantime, measures have been implemented to prevent another killing.
These include setting up of checkpoints in strategic areas, patrol operations especially in remote barangays and the implementation of “no plate number, no travel policy” after the police noticed that the perpetrators used vehicles that had no plate numbers.
Dolina also ordered Tagle that as new Calbayog chief, he must put a stop in the killings.
“I told him to do his assigned task. Otherwise, he might be replaced too, “Dolina said.
Calbayog has been always identified as a hot spot during elections due to political killing.
Its former mayor, Reynaldo Uy, was gunned down in 2013 in Hinabangan town, also in Samar. His murder remained unsolved.