MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. on Wednesday said he would meet with Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. to discuss the resignation of Quezon City Police District chief Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III.
Torre resigned to give way to the investigation into the road rage incident involving a former police officer Wilfredo Gonzales and a cyclist on Aug. 8
“Nag create kami ng Viber chat with Sec. Abalos and yun ang mga pinag usapan namin and the good secretary is also inclined to really bigyan kung ano yung gustong mangyari ni Brig. Gen.Torre. It will be a consensus namin with the SILG (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government) and of course with the Mayor (Joy Belmonte) kasi ang gusto natin harmony in everything (We have created a Viber chat with Sec. Abalos and that's what we discussed and the good secretary is also inclined to really give what Brig wants to happen. It will be a consensus with the SILG and of course with the mayor because we want harmony in everything),” Acorda told reporters on the sidelines of the 127th Araw ng Pinaglabanan in San Juan City.
Acorda said he would also meet with Belmonte to discuss their "next move", as Torre's resignation would affect the QCPD's operations.
Reports earlier said Belmonte was "outraged" over the QCPD's apparent move to give Gonzales a platform to air his side, instead of arresting him.
Acorda, however, welcomed Torre's decision as a gesture of "delicadeza" (maintaining one's dignity).
“That's what we need from the police, the delicadeza and anyway things will come out after the investigation as to what the truth is because he (Torre) explained to me his side and to some extent there is merit in what he says) but of course I respect his decision,” he said.
Torre earlier dismissed allegations that the QCPD gave special treatment to Gonzales during his supposed settlement with the cyclist, saying his personnel "acted professionally".
“I submit my resignation to the Chief PNP, to the SILG and to my NCRPO Regional Director. I need to shield my organization, especially QCPD, from further brickbats and backlash because well there were several things I did which netizens did not like and had a negative reception,” Torre told reporters in a phone interview.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila top cop Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez said an officer-in-charge (OIC) would be assigned at the QCPD for the meantime.
“I will put an OIC doon sa district so most probably DRDA (Deputy Regional Director for Administration) as caretaker tapos doon siya sa regional headquarters muna pending probe or any inquiry or any investigation or pending kung saan ang mapupuntahan niyang assignment and then I will put OIC doon sa QCPD pending deliberation doon sa NHQ (National Headquarters). Kung sino yung ilalagay nila (then he will be at the regional headquarters first pending probe or any inquiry or any investigation or pending where will he go to the assignment and then I will put OIC there at the QCPD pending deliberation at the NHQ as to who they will put) as permanent OIC or choice of the Chief PNP,” Nartatez said.
Fair, unbiased probe
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte vowed to pursue fair and unbiased investigation on the viral road rage.
In a statement on Wednesday, Belmonte said it is important for the local government to resolve and give justice to the victim, and assure that the same incident will never happen in the future.
“We will continue to pursue a fair and unbiased investigation of this matter. The City Legal Department and the PLEB (People's Law Enforcement Board) remain committed to ascertain the truth in pursuit of justice and accountability,” Belmonte said.
She said she expects the QCPD, as well as the leadership of the Philippine National Police, and all other offices and agencies that have jurisdiction over the said incident, to undertake the required course of action that they deem just and proper.
Belmonte said she respects Torre’s decision and thanked him for his service throughout his tenure.
“Regarding the particular incident that led to Brig. Gen. Torre’s resignation, I understand that missteps are a part of everyone’s journey, and it is the manner in which we address them that truly defines us. His willingness to take ownership of the situation is commendable,” Belmonte said.
She reiterated that she will never tolerate any kind of abuse of power within the city. (with reports from Marita Moaje/PNA)