Cebu City police director relieved pending NBI probe into Navarro slay

Ryan Macasero
Cebu City police director relieved pending NBI probe into Navarro slay
Central Visayas police chief Brigadier General Valeriano de Leon says this is to allow the NBI to conduct its probe on the killing of Mayor David Navarro

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Police Director Gemma Cruz Vinluan was placed on administrative leave starting Thursday, October 31, pending the National Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the killing of Mayor David Navarro of Clarin, Misamis Occidental.

Central Visayas police chief Brigadier General Valeriano de Leon said in a statement to local media that this was to allow the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct its probe impartially.

Navarro, while in police custody, was shot in broad daylight here on October 25. He was facing charges of physical injury and acts of lasciviousness, which stemmed from an alleged assault incident at a spa in Cebu City.

“The President’s instruction to turn over the investigation to the NBI is a welcome development. It will provide a perception of impartial investigation, sparing us of suspicion of possible whitewash,” De Leon said.

The police turned over the investigation to NBI on Wednesday, October 30, after the President said he wanted the police out of the investigation since Navarro was killed while in police custody. (READ: Duterte wants PNP out of probe into Misamis Occidental mayor’s death)

Duterte even aired suspicions that the police may have been behind the killing. “What did the PNP (Philippine National Police) do? Maybe they were the ones who killed him. Anyway, it’s still being investigated,” he said on October 28.

“Lapses are possible but not intentional,” Vinluan said in a statement on the killing.

Vinluan has been police chief of the premiere city of the Visayas since July. She was designated head of the special investigation task group on Navarro’s case before it was turned over to the NBI.

She said she is open to any investigation to “ferret out the truth about the unfortunate incident that killed the mayor.”

She said Navarro’s associates told police they had been receiving threats even before he figured in an incident at a massage parlor in Cebu City that led to his arrest and the filing of assault charges against him on October 24.

Navarro was among the alleged narco-politicians in the March 2019 list that President Rodrigo Duterte released to the public ahead of the May elections as a way to dissuade voters from reelecting them. At least 27 of 36 bets on the same list won in the polls. (READ: Who was David Navarro, the mayor from Mindanao killed in Cebu City?)

The mayor denied being linked to the drug trade.

Although a definite motive has not been made public by police or NBI, Navarro’s sister Princess, who was with the mayor when he was killed, mentioned in an interview with reporters that Navarro had political rivals in Clarin who could have been behind the killing. –

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at