Governor wants Northern Mindanao cop chief relieved

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — The provincial government of Misamis Occidental has asked Malacañang to relieve the chief of the Northern Mindanao police due to his alleged inaction on the “resurgence” of criminal group Kuratong Baleleng and illegal drug activities in the province.

Gov. Henry Oaminal said that remnants of the Kuratong Baleleng reportedly resurfaced during the start of the election period last year and even aligned themselves with his political rivals.

The Kuratong Baleleng as well as some major drug traffickers apparently regrouped and planned to return when the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte is over, Oaminal said.

Duterte has warned on several occasions about the possible resurgence of the criminal group in the province.

“I heard the former president mentioning it prior to the election, because it was observed that some drug lords and criminal groups have regrouped to return here in Misamis Occidental, particularly in Ozamiz City,” Oaminal said.

“Last election, aside from fielding a candidate here in Ozamiz, the syndicate and illegal drug traffickers aligned themselves with our political opponents and found connections with some police officials,” he said.

Oaminal said he became the target of these lawless elements as they could not hit back at Duterte.

He expressed belief that a sniper deployed by the syndicate was behind the fatal attack on his running mate, former Lopez Jaena mayor Michael Gutierrez in December, which also wounded congressman Jason Almonte.

Oaminal blamed Northern Mindanao police director Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. for the police’s failure to capture the assailant.             


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