Politics blamed for police turnover in NorthCot

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/ 29 December) – A senior Philippine National Police (PNP) official in Southwestern Mindanao (Region 12) blamed politics for the reshuffling of police officers in North Cotabato.

On Friday, Senior Supt. Roque Alcantara relinquished his post as provincial police director, four months after he assumed it.

Senior Supt. Danny Peralta, a former provincial director of Sultan Kudarat, replaced Alcantara.

Next to be replaced is Supt. Renante Cabico as Kidapawan City police director, according to Chief Supt. Alex Paul Monteagudo, PNP-12 regional director.

The turnover of police command in Kidapawan City will take place early next year, Monteagudo added.

Senior Supt. Robert Kiunisala, PNP-12 deputy director for operations, expressed his frustrations over the movement of police personnel in North Cotabato.

“It’s true that if you are not liked by certain politicians in your place, you can be removed from your post.  If you are on the other side of the fence, then you can be a victim of politics,” said Kiunisala.

To stress his point, Kiunisala explained what the “ideal system” and the real situation in the police organization.

“In an ideal system, there is no politics involved. But in reality, there is.  And what is more depressing is that the reality always prevail over the ideal system,” he said.

Kiunisala, however, encouraged police personnel in the province not to be demoralized by the current development in the police organization.

“We must not be disturbed by this… we have to continue doing our job,” he told them.

When asked, Alcantara said, “There are no hurt feelings.   I am still Senior Superintendent anywhere I would be assigned.”

Alcantara will be assigned at the regional police headquarters, according to Kiunisala.

The relief of Alcantara and the imminent turnover of police command in Kidapawan City came a month after the provincial prosecutor’s office in North Cotabato found probable cause to charge a staff of Cotabato Second District Rep. Nancy Catamco for illegal possession of firearms.

The Kidapawan City PNP filed a complaint against Basilio Obello Jr., Catamco’s public affairs chief, for carrying an unlicensed gun last May.

On January 4, civil society organizations led by North Cotabato Watch will hold a mass rally in Kidapawan City to condemn the relief of Alcantara and Cabico.

“We are so sure politics is involved in this movement,” said Bong Warner, one of the co-conveners of North Cotabato Watch.

Catamco’s legal counsel, Chris Cabilen, cried foul over the “malicious” accusations hurled against his client.

“I don’t think my client will use her power and influence to replace somebody in the police organization just because a case was filed against her staff.   Obello’s case is just a simple case.   We can even post bail for his temporary liberty if ever he would be found guilty,” said Cabilen.  (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)