BAGUIO CITY, Benguet—The police regional office in the Cordillera has replaced the city’s police chief without consulting local officials, a unilateral decision that Mayor Mauricio Domogan said was illegal and a show of disrespect to the powers of the local executive.
Domogan said Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, the police regional director, has replaced Baguio City Police Chief Sr. Supt. Jesus Cambay with Sr. Supt. Rolando Miranda as officer-in-charge without their knowledge.
“We feel sad over the failure of the PNP to follow its own rules in replacing police officers and the act of Nerez in unilaterally assigning an officer-in-charge is a very clear circumvention of the law,” Domogan said.
Under the local government code, the local executive has the power to choose the chief of police from a list of candidates recommended by police authorities. The role of the police was only to screen and certify the qualifications of those in the list.
Cambay was chief of police since 2012 and has six months left before the end of his term. Nerez did not give any reason for the sudden pull out of Cambay, who was put under floating status at the regional headquarters in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Domogan said he has a standing agreement with Nerez to defer any move to unilaterally remove Cambay until both the police and the local government had looked into allegation of increasing crime in the city.
He said the PNP alone will not succeed in maintaining peace and order in the area without consultation and support of the local government, the community and other stakeholders.
“If police officials want to be respected, they must learn to respect their own procedures,” Domogan said.
He said when police needs resources they approach the chief executive and the city council but when they wanted to place people in juicy positions they resort to “bata-bata” system.
Domogan said he will not tolerate an officer-in-charge in the city police office and Miranda will not have an edge over the others when the time comes to select the next chief of police.
“We will try to talk the matter nicely with the PNP leadership and we hope we will achieve a win-win solution,” Domogan said.