THE National Police Commission (Napolcom) stripped a provincial governor and 19 mayors of supervisory powers over the police, including three from south-central Mindanao for their alleged failure to address the problem of illegal drugs in their locality and other issues.
They were identified as Gov. Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur; Mayors Pablo Matinong Jr. of Santo Niño, South Cotabato; Albert of Palencia Banga, South Cotabato; Christopher Cuan of Libungan, North Cotabato; Mariano Blanco 3rd of Ronda, Cebu; Leonida Angcap of Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur; Nieves Cabunalda-Rosento of El Nido, Palawan; Abraham Ibba of Bataraza, Palawan; Andres Lacson of Concepcion, Tarlac; Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City, Pampanga; Jefferson Khonghun of Subic, Zambales; Erlon Agustin of Camiling, Tarlac; Ferdinand Aguinaldo of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; Wellie Lim of Lugait, Misamis Oriental; Crisinciano Mahilac of Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental; Michael Gutierrez of Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental; Donjie Animas of Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental; Jason Almonte of Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental; Juanidy Vina of Concepcion, Misamis Occidental; and Ezel Villanueva of Calamba, Misamis Occidental.
Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge and Napolcom chairman Catalino Cuy signed the resolutions dated October 30 removing from the said officials supervisory powers over the police force.
In a statement, Napolcom said the decision to remove the local executives’ supervisory powers over police in their locality was reached after continuous validation by the intelligence agencies concerned. The local chief executives have been identified as engaged in the illegal drug trade or activity.
The Manila Times reported that the houses of Palencia and Cuan were subjected to anti-narcotics raids last year but no illegal drugs were recovered. Guns were seized from Cuan’s home but these were found to be licensed while the mayor’s aide claimed that the raiding team “planted” the rifle grenade recovered in Palencia’s house.
Meanwhile, Lacson of Concepcion, Tarlac decried the Napolcom’s list calling the report baseless saying that his administration has been keen on eliminating the illegal drugs trade in the municipality.
“I will fight for my name, for my people, and my family. Let them prove it along the avenues of due process and I am willing to resign from my position if they prove the truth of the allegation,” he said.
The Manila Times tried but failed to get comments from Agustin of Camiling.
Several mayors in the province have reportedly gathered at the Capitol to meet with Gov. Susan Yap for an undisclosed agenda.
‘Walk of truth’
Heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm “Salome” did not dampen the spirit of thousands of Tanaueños (Tanauan City residents in Batangas province) who held an indignation rally on Friday morning to show support for Mayor Antonio Halili who was earlier stripped of power over the local police.
About 7,000 people representing various cause-oriented groups and local organizations marched along the main highway at 6:30 a.m. all wearing white shirts to symbolize the innocence of their local chief executive amid allegations of his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Apolo Robles, chairman of the City Federation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TOF-TODA) along with almost 10,000 members said they earlier released a manifesto expressing disbelief over the Napolcom resolution.
Representing the senior citizens of 48 barangay (villages) in Tanauan, Nicolas Chavez said they joined the walk and called on President Duterte and Philippine National Police Director General Ronald de la Rosa to conduct a proper investigation.
Last year, Halili caught the attention of the Human Rights Commission over a campaign he popularized called the “Walk of Shame” where arrested drug pushers and users are paraded through the city believing that it would deter would-be criminals.
Residents of the city said that Friday’s indignation rally is only the beginning as they vow to continue organizing protest actions until it is proven that accusations against Halili are baseless.
with JERRY M. HERNANDEZ AND TINA GANZON-OZAETA