Cebu town police chief sacked after Mayor Blanco killing

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) sacked on Thursday, September 6, Police Senior Inspector JR Palcon, the police chief of Ronda in Cebu following the killing of town mayor Mariano Blanco III inside his office.

This was confirmed to Rappler by Cebu provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Manuel Abrugena in a phone interview, adding that 8 other cops from the Ronda police station were relieved over the incident.

The cops were sacked as the PNP launched a probe to determine whether the team committed any wrongs in failing to respond quicky when Mayor Blanco was asssassinated on Wednesday before the break of dawn.

Blanco is the 11th mayor to be killed during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. He was linked by the government to the illegal drug trade, and right now, cops are looking into politics and personal grudges as the possible motives to his assassination.

Was there neglect? The police station stands just a stone's throw away from the town hall, estimated by Cebu Daily News to be just around 5 meters in distance.

In an earlier interview, sacked town police chief Palcon explained that when Mayor Blanco was killed, only 2 cops were inside the police station.

Palcon said there were 10 others on duty at the time but 5 were serving a search warrant and the other 5 were busy with patrols as there was apparently a liga (basketball league) held in another barangay.

Palcon did not mention whether he was part of the 12 on-duty. (READ: Is your city safe? Understanding PNP crime statistics)

Cops were only able to respond after the 2 on-duty cops received barangay watchmen who saw the killers. The cops had to call for the patrolling policemen to respond, Palcon said, as they could not leave the police station and its detainees on their own. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.