Rama set to choose next city police chief

08/08/2010 - Will having a new police chief make a difference in Cebu City?

Mayor Michael Rama, who believes so, said he would announce tomorrow his choice of a new director of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

“We must be smarter, creative, versatile and more vigilant than the criminals,” Rama told CEBU DAILY NEWS.

He said he believes a new police chief would have different strategies to address peace and order.

A replacement for Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr. has long been speculated since the officer has served longer than the two-year tour of duty and was advised by Camp Crame that his position is open.

Yesterday, a delivery man driving a Multicab was shot dead in barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City, the fourth in a series of ambushes by motorbike-riding gunmen this week in Metro Cebu.

Rufino Deresas, 52, was attacked past 6 a.m. in barangay Punta Princesa.

Police said guns-for-hire are apparently behind the streak of street killings which has put pressure on local government officials and law enforcers to take action.

City Hall assists the PNP with gasoline, vehicles, and allowances for policemen but the mayor said having only 1,000 policemen for Cebu City's urban population of 800,000 was way below the ideal ratio of 1:500.

Under the Local Government Code, the chief of police is selected by the mayor from a list of three eligibles given by the PNP.

Rama said he already made his request to Camp Crame officials over the phone and was given a list of nominees.

Some names were earlier floated by police officials: outgoing Lapu-Lapu police chief Senior Supt. Mariano Natuel, Senior Supt. Melvin Buenafe and Supt. Anthony Obenza. But Mayor Rama kept tightlipped on his choice and the list of nominees, saying he would announce it on Monday.

Rama suggested tapping the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other agencies to implement a security program that starts at the sitio and barangay level.

His plan to purchase 45 police motorcycles is part of a supplemental budget approved last week by the City Council for priority projects for Rama's first 100 days in office.

Rama said he didn't want to call the spate of killings an “alarming” trend but a “challenge” to the police.

“They just need to be honest about their deficiencies, and ask the city's help so that we can know how to help them,” the mayor said.

Replacing Senior Supt. Comendador, said Rama, didn't mean he was unsatisfied with his performance. He said the change would allow Comendador to explore a higher position give others a chance to lead.

“Di ta ka basol sa police, kay kon ang tawo nga naay kalagot murag sayon na kaayo nila ang pagpatay o pagpapatay. (We can't fault the police. If a person is deeply angry against someone, it's almost easy to find a killer),” said Councilor Augustus Pe Jr., who heads the committee on peace and order.

“Our policemen are doing their duties.’With Chito Aragon

(Inquirer.net)

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