Alarm raised over thefts at offices of vice mayor, city council of GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 August) – Thieves have apparently found ways to skirt security measures at the offices of the vice mayor and city council here as evidenced by the spate of thefts that officials said the police and the National Bureau of Investigation should look into.

Aside from the still unsolved incidents of theft a city councilor was reported to have received a death threat.

Councilor Elizabeth Bagonoc disclosed during the council’s regular session on Thursday that several valuables from the vice mayor’s office and offices of the Sangguniang Panlungsod personnel went missing and were believed taken by thieves that have slipped past the new legislative building’s security cordon.

“This is a very alarming trend. I think the NBI and the PNP should now look into the matter before the situation worsens,” she said.

Citing a report from the office of Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas, Bagonoc said a mobile phone left inside the office of her secretary was found missing last Monday.

She said there were reportedly signs that the lock of the drawer where the mobile phone was left for the weekend was forcibly destroyed.

Banas said that aside from the mobile phone, a digital camera used by her office for documentation purposes went missing last month from her office.

She said several weeks ago, another SP employee’s mobile disk that reportedly contained vital files also went missing.

Bañas said that a few days after the May 10 elections a city council member reported to have received a death threat through a letter inserted at the latter’s cubicle.

The vice mayor did not name the concerned council member but she surmised that the death threat was related to their work as local officials.

“There appears to be a pattern in these incidents and we want our authorities to look into this and implement the necessary security measures to prevent them from happening again,” she said.

Aside from the investigation, Bañas said there is a need to set security policies for the new SP Building, which only opened earlier this year.

She urged PNP officials in the city to assign additional police personnel to secure the legislative building aside from its lone policeman that regularly patrols its premises.

“We could possibly tap private security guards to augment our security and request for the establishment of a police box near the building,” Bañas said.

Jose Jugarap, Civil Security Unit (CSU) chief, said they already launched an investigation on the matter based on the statements from concerned SP employees.

“These cases were very mysterious because there were no indications of forcible entries on the doors of the SP building and in the offices where the theft supposedly took place,” he said.

Jugarap, a retired police chief inspector, said they will summon several employees of the SP who turned out to have spent some time inside the building over the weekend to do overtime work as reported by the vice mayor.

But the former police official pointed out that the concerned employees failed to inform the CSU guards stationed in front of the building regarding their overtime work.

“We’re still wondering why they did not properly log in and out as what appears now in our official logbook,” he said.

To address the building’s security concerns, Jugarap said he suggested to Vice Mayor Bañas during a meeting earlier this week to set some security policies that will be observed by all occupants or employees and officials holding office at the SP building.

He proposed for the immediate installation of closed-circuit television or CCTV cameras within the building to augment their security measures.

“It’s important that we establish a policy disallowing the carrying of any firearm inside the building and this should include our law enforcement and military personnel,” he said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)