GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 July) — What’s happening to our city?
Members of the city council raised that question to local police officials during its regular session on Tuesday as they expressed alarm over the rising cases of unsolved murders in the city in the last six months.
City Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., chair of the council’s committee on public order and safety, said it appears that the city police has not been doing enough in terms of securing the area and local residents as shown by the recent spate of killings, most of which remained unsolved.
He specifically cited the nine shooting or gun-related murder cases in the city last month, some of which were believed perpetrated by suspected guns-for-hire.
“It seems that each killing is just an ordinary thing today that requires no eyebrow to be raised,” Gacal lamented.
The official said the rising murder cases could hamper the local government’s efforts to make the city more competitive and further enhance its growing economy.
In a report, the city police office said it recorded nearly 700 crime-related incidents in the city from January to June this year.
It said the bulk of these cases were physical injuries that reached a total of 577 followed by rape with 73, murder with 45 and homicide with four.
The murder and homicide cases were recorded out of the 56 shooting incidents in the area during the period.
The top three barangays that posted the most number of gun-related killings were barangays Calumpang with eight and Lagao and Dadiangas West with six each.
In a question hour called by the city council, Senior Supt. Froilan Quidilla, city police director, assured that they have been doing everything to solve the murder cases and crimes in the city despite their limited resources.
Citing results of their investigation, he said most of these cases were related to illegal drugs and personal grudges.
He dismissed reports that some of the murder cases were perpetrated by suspected guns-for-hire stressing that they have not monitored any movement of such groups in the city.
Quidilla admitted that they were having a hard time solving some of the recorded killings due to the lack of witnesses.
“Some witnesses are also adamant to execute legal affidavits for various reasons,” he said.
In terms of their anti-crime operations, Quidilla said they have been maximizing the deployment of their personnel in various public places and for regular patrols in the city.
But he said they have been facing difficulty in responding to some incidents due to the lack of communication equipment.
“We lack handheld radios that subsequently affect the response time of our personnel,” he said.
For her part, City Councilor Rosalita Nunez urged the city police to intensify their anti-drug operations to help solve the drug-related murders in the area.
She said they should zero in on the fight against illegal drugs, noting that some cases of murders in the area were reported to have been caused by internal quarrels among drug personalities and groups.
Nunez, who is a former city mayor, said there are cases wherein some drug pushers were ordered killed by their financiers after failing to properly remit their collections.
City Councilor Arturo Cloma challenged the city police to dig deeper into the recorded killings, especially those involving motorcycle riding-in-tandem suspects.
Cloma said he could not accept the city police’s findings that no guns-for-hire were operating in the area based on the circumstances of some of the recorded killings. (MindaNews)