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Albayalde warns erring policemen


POLICE officers who continue to engage in various illegal activities will be punished with the full force of the law, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde announced yesterday.

Albayalde issued the statement in a press briefing at Camp Crame following the death of a policeman in South Cotabato who was shot dead by officers of the Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF), Intelligence Group (IG) and Special Action Force (SAF) recently after supposedly resisting arrest.

Police Officer 1 Rommil “Banjo” Barcellano, assigned to the Police Intelligence Branch of South Cotabato Police Provincial Office (PPO), died in a buy-bust operation Saturday night at a drive-in hotel in Koronadal City.

Citing intelligence information, Albayalde said they found out that Barcellano supposedly led the Banjo Barcellano Group which is said to be involved in the recycling of confiscated illegal drugs, car theft, gun-for hire killings and robbery incidents.

Albayalde confirmed Barcellano was included in the validated watchlist of the CITF so a buy-bust operation was crafted to arrest him.

However, after sensing he was dealing with cops, Barcellano enaged his fellow law enforcers in a gun battle, Albayalde said.

During the fight, Barcellano sustained multiple gunshot wounds that caused his death.

“The PNP internal cleansing program continues to gain ground in ridding the organization of criminal elements and undesirables. This incident should serve as a lesson and game changer for others like him who refuse to toe the line and continue to betray the public trust with their criminal ways,” Albayalde said.

“There will be no let-up and no sacred cows in this campaign,” he warned. (Martin A. Sadongdong)