By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) junked the appeal of a police officer who has been ordered dismissed by the Quezon City People’s Law Enforcement Board (QC PLEB) for his involvement in a hit-and-run case.

In a 10-page decision released Wednesday night, the DILG denied for lack of merit the appeal filed by Lt. Col. Mark Julio Abong for his dismissal due to the hit-and-run and drunk driving incident on Aug. 6, 2022 along Anonas Street, Quezon City that killed tricycle driver Joel Larosa and injured a passenger.

“We Affirm the assailed Decision dated August 24, 2023 and Resolution dated September 22, 2023 of the Napolcom (National Police Commission) Regional Appellate Board National Capital Region (RAB NCR) First Division finding Abong guilty of three administrative charges classified as grave offense warranting a penalty of dismissal from service in the Philippine National Police (PNP),” DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said.

“The evidence points out to his guilt for grave misconduct, grave neglect of duty, and conduct unbecoming of a police officer when he concealed his culpability in the said hit-and-run incident.”

The RAB earlier upheld the QC PLEB’s dismissal order against Abong, which was released in March this year.

Abalos also said Abong maliciously falsified evidence to put the blame on his driver Ronald Centino.

However, authorities found substantial and circumstantial evidence to refute Abong’s alibi and defense of mistaken identity.

“This includes his admission to the PNP Health Services for treatment of his injuries immediately after the accident and where he was found by attending medical staff to be intoxicated,” Abalos said.

He also noted that Abong has been given due process and allowed to exhaust all administrative remedies.

Abalos has ordered the PNP to immediately implement Abong’s dismissal from the service.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan said the City Prosecutor’s Office found sufficient evidence to indict Abong on several charges, after he fired his gun during a confrontation with another customer in a bar in the city on Nov. 26.

Abong was charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, a violation under Republic Act (RA) 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act), violation of the Omnibus Election Code, physical injury, slander by deed, and disobedience upon an agent or person of authority. (PNA)