New R-12 police director vows tough action vs. criminals

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 September) – Like his predecessor did, Chief Supt. Gil Meneses, newly installed regional police director
of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao issued a strong warning against rogue policemen, drug traffickers and other criminal other criminal elements.

“We will review our current situation first, especially our operational strategies, but rest assured that there will be no letup in our campaign against these illegal activities,” said Meneses, who formally assumed his new post last Friday.

He specifically cited the continuing crackdown against illegal drug traffickers and illegal gambling activities, especially the “last two” illegal numbers game.

Meneses, who previously headed the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Firearms and Explosives Division, was installed in a simple turnover
ceremony presided by PNP Deputy Director for Operations Benjamin Belarmino at the regional police headquarters in Barangay Tambler

He replaced Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, who was promoted as Director for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao.

When he assumed as Region 12 police chief last April, Khu immediately launched an intensified crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and gambling activities in various parts of the region.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Cotabato and Kidapawan.

Khu specifically directed each police station to launch at least four successful anti-illegal gambling and two anti-illegal drug operations
every month.

A report from the PNP Region 12’s Public Information Office showed that various police units in the region have already arrested 346
suspected illegal drug traffickers and recovered some P1.9 million worth of illegal drugs since January.

In the campaign against illegal gambling, it said some 835 suspected gambling financiers, couriers and operators had been arrested in 559
operations throughout the region.

The report said at least 534 cases have already been filed against illegal gambling suspects, who were mostly involved in the “last two”
illegal numbers game.

“Last two” is an illegal numbers game where the winning combination is derived from the last two digits of the winning number combination
of the daily lotto draw of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Meneses said he specifically received a directive from the PNP national directorate to continue the monitoring and crackdown against illegal gambling activities in the region.

“Our records indicated that we’ve already made significant arrests during the past several months but the problem still persists as shown
by our continuing operations,” he said.

Meneses said he will review the records of all police units in the region, especially the performance of the local chiefs of police
regarding the campaign against illegal drugs, gambling and other crimes.

“We will look into the records of our chiefs of police and check whether they are doing their jobs.  It will later serve as basis
whether they will be retained or relieved from their present posts,” he said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)