TACLOBAN CITY– A police officer assigned in Limasawa town, Southern Leyte was relieved from his post after he was accused to have ‘planted’ a pack of cigarette against a sari-sari store owner.

The town of Limasawa is one of the few local governments in Eastern Visayas that strictly imposes a prohibition on the selling of cigarettes and other tobacco products as mandated under Republic Act 9211(Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003).

Corporal Ruel Arot was caught on a video reportedly planting a pack of cigarettes at the store owned by Ran-ran Salomon in Barangay Magallanes at about 2 pm on Saturday (Sept. 30).

The sacking of Arot, who is from Maasin City but is assigned at the historic town of Limasawa, was made by Southern Leyte police provincial director Col. Hector Enage.
“(The) relief of the said police officer is to give way to an investigation by the Provincial Office in order to shed light on what really transpired during the incident,” the press statement issued by the police provincial office said on Saturday.

Arot was temporarily assigned at the Provincial Holding and Accounting unit of the provincial police office in Maasin.

The same statement also said that if there is evidence against the relieved police officer, he could be administratively or criminally charged.

But Arot, in a post on his social media account, denied the allegation against him.
He said that, for one, it was ‘public knowledge’ in Magallanes that Salomon has been selling cigarettes in his store despite of the prohibition imposed by the local government.

The police officer added that prior to the incident, he had asked his asset to buy the pack of cigarettes, the one described by Salomon as the planted item.

“(And) previously I already reprimanded Salomon why he kept on selling cigarettes (despite of the prohibition),” Arot said.

Arot also denied that he is an ‘abusive’ police officer saying that he did not stop Salomon from taking a video of him during that time.

“And I did not force you to sign the citation ticket nor physically hurt you,” he said, addressing Salomon. (JOEY A. GABIETA)