Balungao folks, officials rally against local cops

>> Sunday, July 16, 2017

By Liezle Basa Iñigo

BALUNGAO, Pangasinan — It was a rude awakening for the local police here Wednesday morning when a crowd of residents, including municipal and barangay officials, staged a picket in front of the municipal police station to protest alleged abuses.
“The police are expected to serve and protect the people of Balungao and not harass them,” said one resident holding a protest placard that read: “Pray for Balungao.”
It was learned that the indignation rally was aimed at police serving search warrants on the houses of certain barangay officials for illegal possession of firearms.
Senior Insp. Raymund Nicolas, local chief of police, confirmed there were three barangay chairmen and one barangay councilman arrested recently as a result of the serving of such search warrants that led to confiscation of undocumented firearms.
However, Nicolas said these police operations were done in accordance with the law and witnessed by barangay representatives.
Liga ng mga Barangay president Joselito Peralta said he vouches for the integrity and good repute of the barangay officials whose houses were subjected to police searches.
Mayor Philip Peralta of this municipality famous for its hot springs has called on Bulangao to be fair and transparent in implementing warrants issued by the courts in order to avoid controversy and agitation among residents.

“This is a peaceful town,” the mayor said in Filipino. “We do not coddle criminals here and it should not be made to look that way. As a consequence, we would lose our tourists,” he added.


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