By Ali G. Macabalang
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) should recall the controversial National Police Commission (Napolcom) resolution that stripped seven Muslim governors and 132 mayors of their police powers for justice and propriety sake.
This was the call made by the leagues of provincial governors and mayors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) following an earlier announcement by DILG Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy that he will “review and correct” the Napolcom order after hearing the sentiments of the affected officials.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who chairs the ARMM provincial governors’ league, said his group had sought an appointment with Uy last July 13, but his staff claimed that he was unavailable that day.
“We hope to meet the DILG leadership very soon to obtain relief from the controversy,” Mangudadatu told journalists at a recent press conference in his hometown of Buluan.
Mangudadatu’s comment was sought for comment as it appeared that the Napolcom order was discriminatory, as only Muslim local government officials were covered by the ban.
Even some Christian lawmakers expressed dismay over the Napolcom order, and noted that “keeping silent begets continued abuses, and complaining will make abusers to be careful next time.”
Napolcom Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Rogelio Casurao said the seven Muslim governors and 132 mayors were stripped of police powers “for their 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.”
Casurao also claimed that “local chief executives in Mindanao being involved in 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, an act which negates the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign in the country.”
Named in the Napolcom resolution dated June 9 were Governors Mangudadatu, Jim Salliman of Basilan, Sakur Tan II of Sulu, Mamintal Adiong Jr. (instead of his mother Soraya Adiong) of Laanao del Sur, and Nurbert Sahali (instead of Rashidin Matba), all in ARMM, Pax Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat and Imelda Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte, and their 132 mayors.
Critics said the Napolcom order was “meaningless” because for years, the seven governors and 132 mayors never enjoyed the power of endorsing police chiefs assigned in their respective turfs.
Mangudadatu said the accusations were unfounded because if there was any truth to these, authorities should have made more appropriate sanctions such as legal proceedings for suspension or removal from public offices.
He noted that other provinces in the country had experienced cases of communist rebels overrunning police stations and disarming cops, but the non-Muslim governors or mayors in such areas were not sanctioned.
Two days after the announcement of the Napolcom resolutions, Uy, who sits as Napolcom board, told reporters in Marawi City that he will “review and correct” the pronouncements.
Uy admitted receiving “recommendations from the police and military for the possible restoration of deputation.”