Governor raises serious concern over resurgence of criminality, drug personalities in Misamis Occidental

Published July 4, 2022, 5:28 PM

by Bonita Ermac

OZAMIS CITY – If the criminal syndicate and drug personalities in Misamis Occidental and other neighboring provinces in the region are to be neutralized, a change in the Police Regional Office in Region 10 leadership is necessary, said Misamis Occidental Governor Henry Oaminal.

The governor said the only way to stop the return of the criminal syndicate and drug personalities in his province would be for the leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to order the relief of Police Regional Office-Region director Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr.

Oaminal issued the statement amid serious concern over the alleged inaction of the Police Regional Office director in preventing the resurgence of criminality in the province.

In a press statement, Oaminal noted the alleged re-surfacing of criminal gangs and illegal drug personalities in the province, blaming these on the alleged alliances that these criminal elements have struck with some political groups.

“In the last election, aside from fielding a candidate here in Ozamis, (the) criminals and the illegal drug personalities also aligned with our political opponents,” averred Oaminal.

The governor blamed the alleged inaction of the regional police office leadership that led to the resurgence of the criminal syndicate group ‘Kuratong Baleleng’, that could allegedly have caused the life of his running mate former Lopez Jaena Mayor Michael Gutierrez.

Gutierrez was shot on December 22, 2021.

Another partymate, First District Congressman Jason Almonte was also wounded in the incident.

Oaminal, who was present during the incident, said he called up Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. to alert him of the shooting.

But the police regional director, the governor charged, did not order a dragnet to prevent the suspects from escaping.

“We were happy with the drug war of PRRD, so we really supported him and the Kuratong and illegal drug personalities were dismantled. However, since they cannot hit back to PRRD, I turned out to be their target of concentration,” Oaminal said.

“And because of the political interest of our opponents, they aligned with the criminal syndicate and were able to have an ally with some police. That gave them the strength (from resurging),” claimed Gov. Oaminal.

Oaminal vowed to contain the situation, and bring back normalcy in his province just like the time when Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, then Ozamiz City Police chief, and former PRO 10 director Col. Danilo Tumanda dismantled the criminal group and forced them to leave the province.

Oaminal said the previous provincial board had actually approved a resolution, addressed to PNP Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., asking for the preventive suspension of Acorda for his alleged failure to conduct thorough investigation in the sniping incident.

The Asenso Pinoy partylist earlier also filed a separate complaint before the court against Acorda and three other police officers for alleged violation of the Omnibus election code in relation to the deployment of police forces without clearance from the Commission on Election (Comelec) during the election.

“A lot of cases have been filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Napolcom (National Police Commission), DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), and the PNP Crame and we will appreciate it if they follow up the cases to avoid any whitewash,” Oaminal said.

“We are hoping that, with the new administration, when the police leadership will be decided, please include our police (director) in the region, he should be pulled out, be investigated and placed in preventive suspension if Director Acorda will not resign or retire,” Oaminal added.