Sudden death for Bukidnon anti-crime body

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 June) – Barely after a month after its creation, Bukidnon’s Provincial Anti-Crime and Drug Abuse Force or Task Force Laban sa Krimen has been dissolved.

Gov. Alex Calingasan told MindaNews Wednesday he will no longer insist on the task force after the officials he appointed to serve as chair and vice chair declined to accept their appointments.

Calingasan created the task force through an executive order dated May 17.

Executive Order No. 44 named Vice Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. as head of the anti-crime body whose task is to “investigate, evaluate, review, assess, and gather information to stop illegal activities or crimes [in the province]”.

The governor appointed provincial board member Rogelio Lago as vice chair of the task force.

In a letter dated June 2, Zubiri declined the position following a tussle with Lago during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session on June 1.

Zubiri said in his letter that an ordinance is necessary for him and the board members to accept the post to avoid liability for “ultra vires acts” (or acts beyond their authority).

Lago wanted the provincial board to defer discussion on the proposed ordinance as they need to act first on Calingasan’s executive order.

Nemesio Beltran Jr., provincial board majority leader, told MindaNews a debate ensued when he told Lago it was not for the board to act on executive orders.

Lago eventually said he would decline the position after which the board suspended discussion on the proposed ordinance.

The anti-crime body was supposed to formulate an anti-crime and public safety plan.

But the governor said he would return the supposed role of the task force to the PPOC.

Calingasan issued the order in the aftermath of the New People’s Army attack early in May of the police station in Malitbog town, where the police were reported to have offered no resistance. The incident led to the sacking of the provincial police director, the town’s police chief and 20 of his subordinates. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)