Cebu News

Fight crime, drugs

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Interior Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno marked his first visit to Cebu as Duterte’s Cabinet member yesterday with a stern warning against non-performing local chief executives in the fight against crime, especially illegal drugs.

Sueno said they will not hesitate to file administrative complaints against local executives if crime and proliferation of dangerous drugs remain high by the end of the year. He said this was the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to the interior department.

“We will file serious neglect of duty and we will suspend them and lift their deputation over the police,” he told reporters.

Governor and mayors are automatically deputized as representatives of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) in their respective jurisdictions pursuant to Republic Act No. 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998. 

As deputized agents of Napolcom, local government executives can inspect police forces and units and exercise operational supervision and control over the PNP units in their respective jurisdictions.

They are also given power to choose the chief of police from a list of five eligibles recommended by the provincial police director and recommend to the provincial director the transfer, reassignment or detail of PNP members outside of their respective city or town residence.

The Department of Interior Local Government Act of 1990 gives the president the power to suspend the power of operational supervision and control of any local executive over police units assigned or stationed in his jurisdiction.

When asked to comment on the recent move of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña in withdrawing his support and recalling the firearms issued to the city policemen for inventory, Sueño said he respects the mayor’s decision and the exercise of his discretion.

He also assured the department will still provide resources for the local police.

“Sayang. If sa recall pud, wa man ta’y problema kay ilaha man na. Agwanta ta, wa ta’y mahimo. But i-supply nato if unsa ang kulang sa Cebu City,” he said.

However, he stressed if the drug problems and crime continue to rise, they will take legal moves against officials responsible.

Osmeña recently halted the reward system for the anti-drug campaign following a major revamp in the PNP that caused the relief of Cebu City Police Office chief Benjamin Santos, whom he described as one of the best city directors he ever worked with.

He said the police authorities never consulted with him about the change in command.

After the announcement of Duterte, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella urged all barangay officials and city officials to heed the call of the president to fight illegal drugs.

“I urge each and every official, atong apilon within our territorial jurisdiction, barangay officials to heed the clarion call of the president to fight this social menace, social concept which is illegal drugs,” Labella said.

When asked if he will also include Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Labella said his call does not need to be specified to a certain person.

The DILG already warned the local government units not to abandon the police force, but Osmeña challenged DILG to sue him after he withdrew his support from the fight against illegal drugs.

The mayor and his family are still on vacation in Japan as of press time.

Labella, who has been the acting mayor since Friday, said he does not find it necessary to talk with Osmeña to discuss the peace and order program of the city.

“It is not necessary because that statement by the president is addressed to everybody. All of us knew. All of us must have heard whether in the social media, print media and the broadcast media.  And all of us are presumed to be responsible officials already. We do not have to be admonished by our fellow official especially if that official is just a subordinate,” Labella said.

He said he agrees with sanctioning local government units that do not support the peace and order program of the national government.

Labella also called for the cooperation of the citizens, saying the police needs support in their fight against crime and illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, the DILG will be adopting the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office’s anti-illegal programs to battle drugs and crime in three to six months.

CPADAO’s performance scorecard system and the crisis intervention program that is community-based will be incorporated in the national anti-illegal program which will be called MASA-MASID (people’s watch), which stands for Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomaliya-Mamayan Ayaw sa Ilegal na Droga. It will be launched next month here in Cebu.

“Diri mag-launch kay nalipay mi sa cooperation and volunteerism sa mga tawo. Grabe ang outpouring of support from the government, church, private sectors and other stakeholders for our anti-illegal program,” Sueño told the media last night.

Sueño met with Governor Hilario Davide III, Archbishop Jose Palma, CPADAO Chief Ivy Meca and other stakeholders during a 4-hour closed-door meeting yesterday at Casino Español in Cebu City. They discussed Cebu’s best practices in terms of its anti-illegal drug activities and programs that include treatment and rehabilitation.

Sueño said they came up with the concept of a barangay empowerment through the said program in support to the advocacy of the president in eliminating illegal drugs, corruption and crime in three to six months.

“We want to maintain and sustain itong pag-surrender ng mga drugs users and pushers. So we will empower the barangays,” he said.

However, he also recognized the current pressing problem on lack of rehabilitation centers for the drug surrenderers all over the country.

The MASA-MASID is seen to address this problem with the help of the anti-illegal programs of the Cebu Province and Quezon City.

He said he was impressed by the anti-illegal program of the province which will complement the MASA-MASID program.

Meca explained CPADAO’s scorecard system that has five criteria for the demand reduction and two criteria for the supply reduction.

For demand reduction the criteria are on functionality and organization of the anti-drug abuse council; LGU policy and legislative measure, social welfare aspect; education; and healthcare program. The supply reduction’s criteria, on the other hand, are the performance of PNP in the local stations and implementation of “limpyo probinsya” program. (FREEMAN)

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