IDENTIFY, PROSECUTE ‘HITMEN COPS’
CEBU OFFICIALS, CHR-7 TO PNP:
Local officials in Cebu are now urging authorities to probe into the claims of a top police official in Central Visayas that some policemen in the province are active hitmen hired by criminals.
Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella said there is a need for an investigation to verify the statements made by Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas.
“But it’s good that General Sinas made this announcement in order to increase public awareness,” Labella said in an interview with reporters at the Calamba Public Cemetery yesterday.
He also called on the Philippine National Police to sack police officials proven to have been moonlighting as hitmen for criminals, including drug personalities.
“This is a matter that should be seriously looked into because as I’ve said before, these cops are supposed to be out there as protectors of the people. They are law enforcers, and should be the first ones to observe the law,” said Labella.
“It should be thoroughly investigated, and bring to the bar of justice those who will be found guilty. Perhaps, remove from public service those who have undoubtedly violated their conduct as public officials,” he added.
CHR to investigate, too
The Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) also joined the call for an investigation on Sinas’ revelations, and added that the police should also start identifying these cops.
In a text message sent to Cebu Daily News yesterday, CHR-7 Director Arvin Odron said their department is likely to conduct its own investigation into the matter.
“What a shocking revelation and it’s unbelievable … the CHR will likewise look into this serious allegation,” Odron said.
CHR-7 also shared the same opinion with Labella to prosecute those who will be found out to have accepted the job as hitmen for criminals.
“We are therefore calling the higher authorities of the PNP (Philippine National Police) to immediately identify and prosecute those who are involved in these grievous acts,” Odron said.
In a Facebook Live interview with Cebu Daily News last Wednesday, Sinas revealed they are now monitoring retired and active policemen in the region who may have been paid by drug pushers and drug lords to be their hitmen.
According to Sinas, police are likely to be hired by drug personalities as hitmen since the former are trained to possess skills that these drug lords are looking for.
He said they are also monitoring policemen who were formerly assigned in Central Visayas but have kept on returning in the region, since these may be signs that they are possibly into illegal activities.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 2016, several revamps were made in the PNP to cleanse their ranks of scalawags.
Most of those found to have suspicious activities were transferred to Mindanao.
Recently, the police force in Cebu have been in hot water after they were suspected as the ones behind the spate of unsolved killings.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was among those who publicly blame the police for the unsolved killings, and have been vocal against PRO-7 and the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), which is now headed by Senior Supt. Royina Garma, for their
handling of these cases.
Meanwhile, CHR-7 said the statements of PRO-7’s chief should serve as a reminder to all members of law enforcement agencies to abide by the rules, and set themselves as good examples before the community.
“The police is supposed to serve and protect the people as they are primarily hired, paid, and trained to enforce the law. They should not use the government resources for personal gain and to perpetuate criminalities ,” Odron said.
For his part, Labella also suggested that recognition be publicly given to exemplary cops as a means to boost their morale as well as to keep them away from any possibility of accepting jobs as hitmen for criminals.
“We should give incentives and recognition to the cops who are doing their jobs, and keep expressing our full-pledged support for them in order to motivate them in their line of duties,” Labella added.
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