By Artemio A. Dumlao
La Trinidad, Benguet – Abra mayors were aptly warned by the Cordillera police that they would lose their control over their policemen if they won’t cooperate with the peace efforts in the province.
Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez also hoists they will exhaust all judicial remedies to counter the action or inaction of abusive and uncooperative local executives.
Nerez made these amidst appeals to Abra mayors “to give their full cooperation to efforts in combating crime in their respective towns in order that peace and order and security shall once again prevail in the province.”
These came after two policemen, the Cordillera police said, who were rendering security on a government project were disarmed and fired upon last week by alleged henchmen of Lagayan town mayor Jendricks Luna, whose comment on the matter is still not available as of this writing.
Luna, and seven other Lagayan officials are facing multiple five criminal complaints and four administrative cases before the Ombudsman.
Amidst the allegedly deteriorating peace, the Cordillera police has activated operation plan “Abra Shield” purportedly “to stem the seemingly deteriorating peace and order situation in the province of Abra.”
Nerez told town mayors and local policemen in Abra that he won’t allow the return of lawlessness in the province, which was rocked by violent crimes in the past few weeks, including the murder of Jacinto Turqueza, an administrative officer of the Abra Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, in the capital town of Bangued last week.
“In the last few years, Abra has experienced relative peace, but in recent weeks, lawlessness has once again reared its ugly head on the people of Abra, which was marked by the spate of killings and other violent crimes,” Nerez lamented. He vowed however, “I will not allow this situation to persist.”
Nerez presided over a Command Conference over the weekend at the Abra Police Provincial Office, attended by police provincial officers and town chiefs of police, as well as local government officials led by Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin and Congresswoman Joy Bernos.
Nerez declared in that conference Cordillera police’s Command Memorandum Circular 07-2014 activating Implementation Plan “Abra Shield” to arrest the tide of lawlessness pervading in the province.
“The recent violent incidents in the province of Abra had once again brought the specter of lawlessness, which has tarnished the improving image of the province,” the circular stated in its backgrounder to justify its issuance.
Abra police director Sr. Supt. Virgilio Laya has been relieved from his post and was brought by Nerez to the regional police command in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Former Regional Headquarters Support Service chief Sr. Supt. Alberlito Garcia will take over the Abra police command.
Nerez also relieved Supt. Mario Mayames as Company Commander of the Abra Provincial Public Safety Company, “after he failed to take actions against a group of men who accosted and disarmed two of his personnel who were providing security in a government project in Lagayan town.”
Under the “Abra Shield,” a composite team composed of policemen from the Regional Public Safety Battalion Light Reaction Unit (RPSB LRU), 22nd Special Action Company of the Special Action Force; 1st Maneuver Company RPSB and the Public Safety Company of the Abra police, is tasked to “conduct intensified and sustained anti-criminality operations in the province to prevent and control the occurrence of crime, account for loose firearms and neutralize organized criminal groups.”
Nerez directed them to initiate intensified anti-crime operations, mount a relentless campaign against loose firearms and conduct a more aggressive battle to dismantle and neutralize private armed groups in the province.***Artemio A. Dumlao***