Shape up or be replaced, GenSan mayor warns cops

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 July) — The city government has given local police officials at least a month to shape up and improve the performance of their personnel in the wake of the recent controversies involving several policemen.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said on Monday he specifically directed city police director Senior Supt. Froilan Quidilla and other top police officers in the area to instill the necessary reforms to ensure that their personnel perform properly during operations.

“The city has set a direction for our city police and if we cannot see any movement towards that within one month then we will have no other choice but to request for their replacement or the appointment of new officers here,” the mayor said.

Rivera said he agreed with City Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., the city council’s committee on public order and safety chair, to set the ultimatum following the killing last July 10 of criminology student Randy Quirante after being mistaken as a car thief during a police operation and the escape on July 16 of three detainees from the Bula police station lockup.

Quirante, an 18-year old criminology student at the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges (RMMC) here, was gunned down by members of the Lagao police station in an operation along the national highway in Barangay Baluan.

Four policemen, who were identified as Police Officer (PO) 2 Arnold Sua, PO2 Ariel Beldera, PO1 Rudyard Dequito and PO1 John Rey Daligdig, have since been relieved and will likely face criminal and administrative charges over the incident.

On July 16, three detainees of the Bula police station bolted from its lockup by sawing off its steel frames.

The detainees reportedly made the escape while duty desk officer Police Officer 2 Jonathan Mejores was inside the comfort room.

Two of the detainees have since been recaptured while another remains at-large and is the subject of a manhunt.

The mayor clarified that they issued the ultimatum to give enough time for Quidilla and his staff to prove their worth.

“Having just assumed (as mayor) last July 1, I’m still in the familiarization stage as to their operations so I’m also trying to work with them,” he said.

With regard to the city government and local police partnership, Rivera said he is so far satisfied with their cooperation.

He said the local government has continued providing the necessary support to the city police office in terms of logistics and their mobilization. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)