By: Gail T. Momblan and Emme Santiagudo
THE new head of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), Senior Superintendent Martin Defensor, said he is open to a conference with the City Council regarding the rising incidents of murder perpetrated by motorcycle-riding gunmen.
During its regular session on Sept 11, 2018, the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) passed a resolution inviting the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) for a conference/dialogue to update the City Council on the peace and order situation in Iloilo City, particularly the occurrence of index and non-index crimes.
“Personally, gusto ko talagang mag-attend doon kasi I will be asking their support kasi nakita ko kailangan talaga ng support ng local government unit (LGU) sa sitwasyon ngayon,” Defensor said in an interview.
Defensor said he already has a strategy in combating the series of killings in the city since this is the top marching order of Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 director.
“I have in mind kung papano i-counter yun kasi you fight fire with fire nga di’ba? So kung amo na style nila, te amo na himuon naton eh. Kung hindi sila titigil sa ganoon na style, we have to show them kung paano tayo magtrabaho,” Defensor added.
Defensor also said that he does not support the killings of suspected drug personalities either in police operations or by motorcycle-riding gunmen.
He believes that cases on illegal drugs should be prosecuted with due and legal processes.
“Give it time and effort para mapatunayan talaga kasi mahirap magkamali eh, ang buhay ng tao ang nakasalalay,” Defensor said.
The new chief reiterated that his plans to solve the motorcycle-riding gunmen incidents will be possible with support from the LGUs and PNP headquarters.
In his privilege speech, Councilor Armand Parcon lamented the series of killings perpetrated by unknown assailants who act with impunity.
“In a span of few days, series of index and non-index crimes occurred recently in this city such as killings perpetrated again by unknown assailants riding in tandem, crimes against person and property and some are drug related which caused anxiety to many of us,” Parcon said.
Parcon also questioned the real status of the peace and order in the city and if the police are still capable in ensuring the safety of civilians.
“Dapat masanagan kita kung ano ang real status. If prime solutions are ineffective, this is a case of failure or breakdown in our peace and order. Are our police having the propensity or inclination for killing drug suspects or simply it’s a case of suspects putting up a fight?” he said.
Recently, two separate police anti-drug operations in Molo and Jaro resulted in the deaths of two suspected drug peddlers.
Moreover, in a span of one week, three killing incidents involving motorcycle-riding men happened in Molo, La Paz, and Jaro.
The recent victim, Gerardo Mamarion, a tricycle driver from Brgy. Tacas in Jaro was peppered with bullets just a few meters away from his house.
According to the reports, Mamarion was a Tokhang surenderree and was allegedly involved in the killing of two vendors in Pavia, Iloilo two year ago.
Other city councillors supported the resolution for the ICPO.
“This is not only a concern of the victims but as well as the people from the city of Iloilo nga kinahanglan tap-anon naton gid. Ang tanan nga gakalatabo sa city of Iloilo it goes back to the image of Iloilo,” said Councilor Ely Estante Jr.
Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo emphasized that just like government officials, the police are duty bound to protect the life and liberty of the public.
“We as peace loving citizens of the city we condemn these killings but let us also give our police the benefit of the doubt that what they are doing are legitimate police operations,” Peñaredondo noted.
Parcon urged the Ilonggos to remain vigilant in spite of the series of killings.
“Ihatag ta gyapon ang aton pagsalig sa police pero mangin vigilant kita sa paglantaw sang ila operation. Ang mga Ilonggo are law abiding citizens and not condoning extrajudicial killings,” said Parcon.