The Philippine National Police provincial command has sent a team of investigators to Balabac to probe the mauling incident involving its town police chief, PSI Michael Angelo Erlano, and two other officers, all of whom have been placed under preventive suspension pending the result of its investigation.
Senior Superintendent Gabriel Lopez, chief of Palawan PNP, also said he has designated another officer, PCI Victor Sumondong, to relieve Erlano in time for next week’s local elections.
Senior Inspector Ric Ramos, spokesperson of Palawan Provincial Police Office, said the investigation is headed by Police Senior Superintendent Manolo F. Salvatierra, chief of the Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch. Ramos said their formal investigation on the incident will be completed “as soon as possible.”
Erlano, along with PO2 Saranel Ahmal and PO2 Alfonso Kahal had been caught on CCTV accosting and manhandling a group of civilians. The incident reportedly stemmed from a heated argument that took place between the group of policemen led by Erlano and the civilians, which included a local barangay official.
Lopez had said earlier that Erlano admitted they had been drinking inside a bar before the incident took place.
Lopez, meanwhile said, the four policemen under suspension have been recalled to the provincial headquarters where they will be assigned election-related duties while the investigation is taking place.
“Kelangan natin ng tao ngayon kaya habang nandito siya, habang nagpapahinga siya (Erlano), eh idu-duty ko siya sa monitoring center natin ng election para mapakinabangan din habang nagpapahinga. Para hindi sayang ‘yong araw, bigyan ng trabaho,” he said.
Asked where the two other policemen will be assigned, Lopez said: “Puwedeng sa iba sila ilagay, taga-walis diyan sa paligid,” said Lopez.