• 3 police chiefs sacked over stoning incidents

LAOAG CITY—With the alarming number of stoning incidents in the province and in the entire Region I, the police authorities in Ilocos launched “Oplan Bantay Biahe” to provide protection and assistance to public transport buses and other private motor vehicles while traveling in the national highways, Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula, police regional director said.

Based on PNP Regional Office records, at least 42 stoning incidents of buses and cars occurred in Region 1 since January this year.

Of the incidents, 31 in Pangasinan, followed by Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, both with 4 and La Union with 3, Sapitula said.

“So when I told police chiefs I would relieve them, I really did. That’s my policy,” he said.

In Ilocos Norte, at least three police chiefs had been sacked due to the occurrence of stoning incidents in their area of responsibility.

In his directive to stop these stoning incidents, the regional director said that a police chief of the area where the stoning incident occurs shall immediately be relieved from his post.

At press time, relieved were police chiefs C/Insp. Ryan Retotar of San Nicolas, C/Insp. Marlon Padamada of Currimao and S/Insp. Joseph Tayaban of Badoc.

Sapitula added he may be harsh in his decision to sack police chiefs over stoning incidents but he was irked by the data in 2017 showing more than 200 cases throughout Region 1.

Meanwhile, INPPO director Sr./Supt. Jose Melencio Nartatez, Jr. said in an interview with local media, that the stoning incidents reported in various parts of national highways here must not be tolerated.

Earlier, Nartatez met the representatives of the 5 major bus companies based in the province to seek their cooperation and ultimate solution of these incidents.

They proposed the deployment of police marshals in buses to have quick responders when the suspects strike.

They also proposed that joint barangay tanods (village defense guards) and policemen would conduct regular patrol operations on national highways between 11:00 pm to 2:00 am, the common hours of stoning incidents.

The aforesaid crucial hours of stone throwing were confirmed by Engr. Niel Jose of GMW bus company.

Police visibility in all national highways was also sought during the meeting.

Nartatez said four suspects in stoning were already apprehended and criminally charged.
He said his three police chiefs were sacked for their failure to deter the occurrence of stoning incidents in their AORs.” (TSG with report from tri-media)