Five officers in Colombia’s National Police force have been dismissed from their positions after accusations surfaced that they had been engaging in political advocacy on their social media accounts, reported local media.
General Rodolfo Palomino of the National Police on Tuesday confirmed that five of the seven policemen who had recently been removed for allegedly being involved in politics, were dismissed, reported Colombia’s W Radio.
Palomino said that the evidence found against the soldiers was so strong that the decision had been reached to dismiss them while the remaining two soldiers continue to be under investigation.
|“The National Police, characterized by 123 years of its absolute conviction that it is a cornerstone of democracy, has never allowed in its history, and even less today, any political participation.”|
Palomino confirmed that a separate investigation is underway into eight more police officers for being involved in politics, reported newspaper El Espectador.
Colombia’s Constitution prohibits all public officials, including members of the Armed Forces and National Police, from participation in politics.
“The National Police, characterized by 123 years of its absolute conviction that it is a cornerstone of democracy, has never allowed in its history, and even less today, any political participation,” Palomino said.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon is orchestrating a military investigation into similar uses of social media by members of Colombia’s Armed Forces.
The original dismissals came following investigations into claims made by vice-presidential candidate German Vargas that policemen were using their twitter accounts to advocate on behalf of the Democratic Center (Centro Democratico) candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the challenger in Sunday’s run-off elections against Vargas’ running mate, incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos.
Colombia’s army had ordered a temporary shut-down of the social media accounts of the country’s armed forces on June 3, although it is not clear whether this was linked to the the use of social media as a tool for political advocacy.