CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Elected officials of Lanao del Sur banded together to slam the National Police Commission for taking away their authority over their local police forces, with one lawmaker calling it “pure ignorance, (a) pure display of incompetence.”
On July 4, the same day the Supreme Court upheld President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law over Mindanao, the Napolcom released Resolutions 2017-334 and 2017-335, which are both actually dated June 8, stripping the governors of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, and 132 mayors of administrative control over their police forces.
The resolutions cited, without going into details, “reports of local chief executives in Mindanao being involved in the illegal drug trade which is tantamount to providing support, in one way or another, to the Maute terrorist group or other criminal elements in their jurisdiction,” and their supposed “failure to impose measures to suppress terroristic acts and prevent lawless violence in their territories which is inimical to national security and poses serious threat to the lives and security of their constituents.”
They also invoked martial law as the basis for the move.
Lanao del Norte first district Representative Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo called the Napolcom resolutions “disappointing” and said the agency had driven a “wedge” between local government units and the Philippines National Police “at a time when unity is the most important for the fight against terror.”
He said he would ask Congress to compel the Napolcom to explain if the issue is not resolved when session resumes.
Dimaporo also said the Napolcom’s assertion of terrorism and a thriving drug trade was false as far as their province is concerned because, “in fact the opposite is what’s been happening. The police and the local chief executives had been successfully worked hand-in-hand together to control peace and order in our province.”
Second district Representative Abdullah Dimaporo was even more scathing in his comments.
“They have shown us that they are very incompetent,” he said. “They included in their resolution the name of a person who is no longer a governor, the names of people who are no longer mayors. They included the name of a mayor who is already dead. What does this mean? … This is pure ignorance, pure display of incompetence.”
Lala Mayor Allan Lim, president of the mayors’ league in the province, said all 22 local executives “are very disappointed. This resolution is baseless, and to reiterate the sentiments of the 22 mayors, why are they accusing us of various baseless points?”
“We have supported the President’s call for martial law, our mayors in the borders of Lanao del Norte have been the buffer to guard … from intrusion of terrorist groups like the Maute,” he said.
Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza Dimaporo said the province prides itself in having forged “true unity between Muslims and Christians.”
“It is unfortunate that our efforts in Lanao del Norte for more than 30 years to maintain peace and order was put to naught by the sweeping, unfounded and baseless withdrawal of our deputization over the Philippine National Police by Napolcom,” she said.
She stressed that there has been no lawless violence in the province ever since the Marawi crisis, the basis of Duterte’s martial law declaration, broke out on May 23. In fact, she said, they managed to celebrate the 58th Araw ng Lanao del Norte, the province’s founding anniversary, peacefully.