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Philippine governor stripped of control over police
By Manolo B. Jara November 11, 2017
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MANILA: A Mindanao governor and at least 20 of the country’s city and municipal mayors have been stripped of their operational supervision and control over their police forces for abuse of authority and their suspected involvement in illegal drugs.

In separate resolutions, Catalino Uy, the acting head of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Police Commission (Napolcom) identified the governor as Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao, who was accused of grave abuse of authority.

“Based on the consistent pronouncements made by...President Rodrigo Duterte, the involvement of a local chief executive in illegal drugs...constitutes an act inimical to national security,” the resolutions pointed out.

“The exercise of the duties, obligations, powers and prerogatives invested unto the local chief executives,” the resolutions added, “are hereby suspended accordingly.” In a statement, Cerilles denounced the move, saying it was “politically-motivated” because of his strong opposition to the adoption of a federal form of government from the presidential system as advocated by Duterte and his supporters.

“If this is the prize for going against their position, I will stand by it and so be it,” said Cerilles who also served as the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under then president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

One of the officials affected was Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan of Los Angeles City in Pampanga in Central Luzon and the president of the League of Cities of the Philippines.

Pamintuan protested his inclusion in the list, saying it was “absurd and out of this world” as well as ‘baseless and devoid of factual evidence.” Another official affected was Mayor Antonio Halili of the town of Tanauan, Batangas province in Southern Luzon where thousands of placard-bearing residents marched on Friday to express support for Halili.

Ironically, Halili gained national attention through the print and broadcast media by his controversial move called “March of Shame” where arrested suspected drug dealers and criminals were paraded around town carrying placards in Filipino like “I am a drug pusher, don’t imitate me” or “I am a thief, don’t imitate me.”

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