Most officials and citizens of the City of Dumaguete were surprised over the sudden relief of Chief-of-Police Supt. Jonathan Pineda without prior consultation of the local government and even as his tour of duty has not yet expired..
Pineda,a multi-awarded performer by the civilian community , has since been transferred to the Negros Oriental Provincial Command as Acting Chief of POPB.
Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo wondered why Pineda was unceremoniously removed when he enjoys the trust and confidence of all stakeholders and has been performing well particularly in the war against illegal drugs and criminality.He was the first chief of police who hit the multi million peso mark in drug arrests and busts.
In fact, the crime rate of the city has declined to 31.7% or from a high of 2, 534 incidents in 2017 to just 1, 730 incidents in 2018. Indeed there were 804 less crime incidents in 2018 owing to the various anti-crime strategies adopted by Pineda’s leadership with strong support from the local government. In addition, more than P 9 million worth of illegal drugs were seized in 79 operations in 2018 compared to just P 447, 000 in 2017.
Members of the City Council took turns in manifesting their disapproval over the relief of Pineda and the propensity of the PNP leadership to reshuffle Chiefs-of-Police without prior notice or consultation with the local government.
“But that is just the point: during election season, in order to avoid suspicion of bias and favoritism, police chiefs and directors are usually reshuffled for the public good,” said one PNP official who asked to remain anonymous.
Councilor Alan Cordova reiterates that under the law a mayor has the right to choose a Chief-of-Police based on the three officers recommended by the PNP leadership so that both will develop good rapport and working relationship in preserving law and order. Thus, when the higher officials of the PNP did not observe this, it was just natural for the mayor and local officials to feel insulted.
But who is to make a formal complaint? Cordova was asked.
For his part, Councilor Michael Bandal wondered aloud why good officers assigned to Dumaguete City are removed and replaced even if they have not yet completed their tours of duty.
It was noted that Pineda’s predecessor, Supt. Jovito M. Atanacio was also removed abruptly without consultation from the local government prompting the City Council to pass a resolution of condemnation directed to the higher headquarters. But nobody made any formal complaint from the city officialdom.
Councilor Lilani Ramon lauded Pineda for his numerous initiatives, non-partisan nature and laudable principles. Both Pineda and city councilors partnered in the successful rehabilitation of the detention centers and the construction of a high fence enclosing the local police station.