‘Order on Navarro killing prerogative of President’

    65

    PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa yesterday said President Duterte’s order for the PNP to stop its probe on the killing of Misamis Occidental Mayor David Navarro and turn it over to the National Bureau of Investigation should not be interpreted as lack of trust on the police force.

    “Being the commander-in-chief, he has the prerogative. He wants impartiality and any commander-in-chief can do that. So, we take it as it is,” Gamboa said.

    Duterte on Monday night ordered the NBI to take over the investigation of Navarro’s case, suspecting that cops may be behind the killing last Oct. 25 in Cebu City.

    As soon as he learned of the President’s order, Gamboa ordered the special investigation task group created to speed up the investigation of the case to turn over to the NBI all the evidence it has gathered in connection with the killing.

    “The commander-in-chief has already spoken. The investigation will be given to the NBI and this is a direct order coming from the commander-in-chief, so we follow,” he said.

    Navarro, 50, arrived in Cebu City Tuesday last week for a meeting of business leaders.

    Police said he did not coordinate his stay in Cebu with the local police.

    Last Thursday, Navarro was arrested following complaints from a male masseur whom he allegedly mauled and from a female attendant he allegedly asked for sexual favors.

    Last Friday, while he was being escorted to the Prosecutor’s Office aboard a police car, 10 armed men aboard a van that blocked their convoy alighted from the vehicle and, at gunpoint, dragged him out of the vehicle and fired at him.

    Navarro was reportedly the same person leading a robbery gang based in Ozamiz City. Gamboa said they still have to verify that information.

    The Department of Justice said Duterte’s directive is sufficient for the NBI to start investigating the killing of Navarro.

    DOJ Undersecretary and spokesperson Markk Perete issued the statement late Monday night after Duterte ordered the NBI to take over the probe of the killing from the PNP.

    “Given the circumstances surrounding the killing of Clarin Mayor Navarro, the President’s directive for the NBI to take over the investigation of the incident should quell any doubts regarding this government’s commitment to solve the case and bring to account those responsible,” Perete said.

    “His directive should therefore be sufficient for the NBI to commence its probe,” he added.

    Perete said the DOJ will still come up with a department order on the NBI probe.

    The NBI is the main investigating agency of the DOJ.

    Before Duterte’s directive, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they would leave it to the PNP to investigate the killing.

    Navarro had been included in the list of local officials allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade, an allegation the slain mayor had repeatedly denied. – With Ashzel Hachero