MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/01 July) — Vice Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. warned Bukidnon police director Senior Supt. Nerio Bermudo he might be booted out of the province if he fails to show improvement in the peace and order situation.
Zubiri issued the warning when Bermudo appeared last Wednesday at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to apprise board members of the crime situation in Bukidnon.
The police official presented only the statistics on crime incidents for the last two months, drawing Zubiri’s ire.
Zubiri ordered Bermudo to provide the provincial board with a more comprehensive report specifying comparative figures to make it more useful.
“Are you giving us a true report? Nothing monkey business with this?” the vice governor asked, reminding Bermudo that his predecessor was replaced for reportedly providing provincial officials with false reports.
“I assure you this is a true report, your honor,” the police official replied.
Bermudo presented a January to June 2010 report to Gov. Alex Calingasan at the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting on July 8.
Bukidnon’s crime rate from January to June 2010 decreased by 54 percent compared to the same period last year, his report to the council said.
He said 4,245 incidents were reported in the first half of 2009 but only 1,951 in the same period this year.
Index crimes went down from 2,444 to 1,611 cases or a decrease of 823 cases. Non-index crimes dropped from 1,801 to 340 cases, he added.
But Zubiri’s outburst did not stop at the issue of statistics.
The vice governor demanded that Bermudo solve the province’s criminality, reminding him that the provincial government has given the police funding assistance of at least P25 million.
Bermudo was given until December to prove he is effective.
“Show a big change in five months. If you will not be successful, we will look for someone who will be successful,” Zubiri said, adding the police official should submit monthly reports not only to Calingasan but also to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Saying the five-month deadline is doable, Zubiri vowed to ask Calingasan to request for Bermudo’s transfer if the latter could not deliver.
Among the key peace and order issues and problems cited were the ongoing pursuit of the Dondahan suspected bandits in northern Bukidnon, illegal gambling, a measly P7,000 a month fund for the police intelligence unit, and the recruitment of members by a group claiming to be part of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Zubiri also ordered Bermudo to provide the provincial government with a list of chiefs of police in the province who are allegedly receiving protection money from operators of illegal gambling.
“We give you the benefit of the doubt, is it possible that your chiefs of police are receiving money from illegal gamblers?” he asked.
Bermudo told MindaNews he will investigate the allegation. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)