The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Brooke’s Point demanded the relief of the town’s police commander, citing his alleged negligence in the violent dispersal and detention of anti-mining demonstrators in Brgy. Maasin last Friday, April 14.
During the council’s regular session on Tuesday, April 18, SB member Vic Colili, in a resolution, called for Palawan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) acting director P/Col. Jeffrey Fernandez to recall Brooke’s Point Municipal Police Station (MPS) chief P/Maj. Raffy Esperida.
Colili said Esperida was there when Ipilan Nickel Corporation security personnel stormed the anti-mining protesters and let the violence occur. He accused Esperida of neglecting to defend the activists’ rights and acting in the mining company’s best interests.
The SB was divided on the resolution, with six members voting in favor and five voting against it.
The Save Palawan Movement (SPM) applauded the legislation and demanded that Esperida be held accountable.
“We welcome this resolution from the Sangguniang Bayan of Brooke’s Point. It may be recalled from news reports and personal accounts of our community partners on the ground that the police officers present stood silently as Ipilan Nickel Corporation’s security forces manhandled six of those barricading in protest of the mining company’s continued operations in Brooke’s Point. We call for accountability over these officers’ apparent neglect of duty and over the brazen disregard for the local residents’ human rights,” they said in a statement.