Gapas, Tolentin get tough marching orders

Tough marching orders were given right from the top, to the new provincial and city leaderships of the Philippine National Police following violent insurgency related upheavals ,unsolved extrajudicial killings and multimillion drug buy bust operations.

The entire Negros Oriental Philippine National Police directorate got a major leadership overhaul including Dumaguete City with the assumption and installation of a new provincial police director and a new Chief of police for this capital city of Dumaguete.

They are Police Col Rizalito Gapas, as new provincial police director and Col Rayman Tolentin, as Dumaguete chief of police. They replaced Col Raul Tacaca and Col Greg Galsim who is now deputy provincial PD    for operations.

Formerly police chief of Pasig City Gapas vowed to “make some changes” to the province, citing the need to beef up their strategy in addressing the insurgency problem in the province.

P/ Lt Col Rayman  Tolentin on the other hand, is a native of Candau-ay Dumaguete.. He has been assigned in this province and was brought back because he knows the terrain. He should be familiar with  the war on  crimes and  drugs.

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, who attended the turnover rites, wants the new director to also focus on illegal gambling and drugs. He emphasized that “ I don’t want any more policemen killed which is no longer acceptable, especially the fact that most if not all recent killings remain unsolved..”

“It is the job of the PNP to go hard on criminality,” Gapas responded.

Gapas has big shoes to fill especially since his predecessor Police Col. Raul Tacaca was relieved following a series of killings in the province last July. In fairness to Tacaca, he admittedly was not yet fully familiar with the terrain and people compared with the insurgents who have been operating here for years and living with the people in the hinterlands.


Trained with the Special Action Force unit, Gapas said  P/Col Gapas said he  would continue the efforts of the regional police in the campaign against  insurgency, criminality and illegal drugs.

He also hoped to improve police visibility in the hinterlands, and  the peace and order situation in Negros Oriental.

The Defend Negros #StopTheAttacks network has recorded the killings of 87 civilians in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental since January 2017.

In July 2019 alone, 19 persons were gunned down in Negros Oriental.


“A very challenging assignment.”

This was how the new chief of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office described his duties following the spate of killings in the province, even as journalists pressed him with hard questions during his assumption day.

“I hope I can do some changes. I hope I can do some milestone in so far as the peace in the province (Negros Oriental) is concerned,” said Gapas during a press briefing after a whole day meeting with officials and his troops,  rushing here  right after a  command conference held at the Camp Sergio Osmena Sr. in Cebu City.

Gapas, a former Pasig City Police Chief, was ordered by President Duterte thru the PNP chain of command,   to prevent a repeat of the killings of policemen and other personalities in Negros Oriental.

“I hope he will not commit the same mistake wherein four policemen were killed. Beyond that, I told him to develop his style and he is his own man,” said Brigadier General Debold Sinas, the director of the Central Visayas police.

Sinas also challenged Gapas to continue the campaign against illegal drugs and to never give in to the demands of communist rebels in Negros Oriental.//LZB  abs-cbn pooled news team.