Local chief executives will answer if problem persists
Local government chief executives who would fail to eliminate or at least reduce the spread of illegal drugs in their respective areas by the end of the year will face administrative charges and, if found guilty of serious neglect of duty, shall be suspended.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueño made the announcement during his visit to the DILG regional office in Cebu City yesterday morning.
He said he was given the authority by President Rodrigo Duterte to file charges of serious neglect of duty against governors and mayors who refused to cooperate with their nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.
“By the end of December — the sixth month since our intensified campaign against illegal drugs started, we will go after mayors and governors in areas where illegal drugs are still rampant. And we will suspend them,” Sueño told reporters.
“Inept” local executives may also lose their National Police Commission (Napolcom) deputation which gives them direct operational supervision over police units in their jurisdiction, he added.
Under the law, local chief executives are mandated to eradicate problems on drugs in their area of jurisdiction, Sueño said.
If local executives cannot perform their mandate of eradicating the drug menace, he said, it is considered a failure on the part of governors and mayors to carry out their mandate and responsibilities.
“The DILG shares in the task to eliminate illegal drugs, crimes, and corruption within three to six months. Our president really hates drug lords and big-time protectors. In fact, he wants them to fight back so the police could kill them right away,” said Sueño in his message to DILG-7 officials and employees.
He said Duterte knows the Philippines is going to be a narco state if he doesn’t do something to end the proliferation of illegal drugs.
“God indeed loves the Philippines because if Duterte had not been elected, this country will really become a narco state,” he said.
“We’re on the verge of seeing politicians win in the elections because of money given by drug personalities. And these politicians would in turn protect the illegal drugs trade. I urge everyone to help the president save our country,” he added.
Sueno believes Duterte didn’t identify the elected officials who serve as “protectors” of illegal drug groups during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday because they are still validating the list.
“Others are still rumors,” he said.
On Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s withdrawal of support to the local police, Sueño described it as “sayang.”
“We can’t do anything about it. That is his decision. So we really have to bear with the consequences. But we (DILG and the national government) will supply whatever the Cebu City police needs,” he said.
Asked if Osmeña can be sued for recalling the city-issued firearms from the police, Sueño said: “What can we charge him of? The city owns those guns.”
“But if illegal drugs will still proliferate here (Cebu City) after December, then we will file charges of serious neglect of duty,” he said.
After he was elected mayor last May, Osmeña was active in the campaign against illegal drugs.
He even dangled a P50,000 reward for every dead crime suspect and P5,000 for each wounded as part of his campaign against criminality.
But after the implementation of the police revamp which affected the Cebu City police chief and the police regional director, the mayor announced that he would no longer give cash incentives to the police and would wash his hands off the fight against criminality and drugs.
He was offended that he was not consulted on the matter and that his campaign against drugs had already gained momentum when the relief of PRO-7 Director, Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador and Cebu City Police Director Benjamin Santos was done.
Meantime, Sueño urged the community to help them in the campaign against illegal drugs.
He said they are set to launch the Masa Masid where ordinary citizens would be organized to inform law enforcers about illegal drug operations in the barangay level.
Sueño said they also intend to set up more rehabilitation centers to help victims of illegal drugs.
“President Duterte has compassion for drugs addicts and pushers. He wants to help them recover,” he said.
Sueño said DILG is coordinating with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to provide livelihood trainings and develop the skills of drug users.
“These drug pushers have talents. We should develop their talents so they would stay away from drugs and become productive citizens of the country,” he said.
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