ROUGH CUTS| Something for the PRO XI chief

HERE IS one issue that deserves to be made known by Police Regional Office (PRO) XI director Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan.

We are referring to the seeming neglect of some police elements in the performance of their duties.

If our readers can remember, some two months back we wrote about the delay in the response of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) to the request of the family of Manuel Maningo who was slain by unidentified gunmen towards daybreak. The suspects forcibly entered his residence in Talandang, Tugbok District at about 4 to 4:30 a.m.

After the armed men left, the victim’s son who was also subjected to manhandling, called up for police assistance. He also called the SOCO so that the family could start the process of disposing of the victim’s body. The call for the SOCO was made soon after the call for police investigators was made.

The police probers arrived much earlier. However, the SOCO came in towards noon. Imagine the delay?

And according to reports, the mobile vehicle of the Tugbok police already in Talandang had to fetch the members of the SOCO.

We were thinking that that was an isolated case. But how wrong we were.

Last Sunday evening, a vehicular accident happened in the same barangay. It involved two motorbikes that collided in an almost blind curve and downhill road. One of the motorbikes was coming from Calinan while the other was going to Calinan. The latter motorbike was driven by one Samuel Delute Jr. who was on his way to fetch his wife from work.

We passed by the scene of the accident and stood by there since we personally know Samuel Delute Jr. Both drivers and the passengers of the motorbike coming from Calinan were already brought to the hospital. However, the vehicles were still around waiting for police traffic investigators to come and conduct their probe.

When we inquired from the barangay police auxiliaries who were guarding the scene whether a call has already been made for police traffic investigators we were told that such call was made and that the police patrol car carrying the traffic probers had just left. We estimated that in 30 minutes the policemen will arrive. However, almost an hour had gone and no policemen came. So, we asked again the police auxiliaries to make another call. Good thing the police auxiliaries have their own motorcycles they did not have the problem of looking for a spot that has some cellular phone signals a few kilometers away from the accident scene.

They were again told by the Tugbok police that the patrol car was already on its way and that it would reach the area in due time. And the barangay police, family members of Delute Jr., his friends including us, and some curious onlookers continued waiting. For another thirty minutes, we waited anxiously looking for blinkers on every vehicle approaching the area.

When no police car arrived we asked the barangay police auxiliaries to make one more call and instructed him to ask for guidance in case the police would not come.

And what a joke it was. When the third call was made, the desk officer at Tugbok police reportedly advised the barangay cop that the investigator will not be able to come to the accident site on that night and that they would be going to the area the morning after.

Instead, the desk officer, according to the barangay policeman, told him to have the two motorbikes involved in the accident loaded in the police multi-cab and bring the same to the police headquarters for impounding.

It is this aspect that we want Chief Supt. Gaerlan to look into. We can understand if the police were hesitant to go to accident sites in the rural sector of the city. More so, if an area is within the so-called “Red Influenced” or located in its peripheries.

Of course, there is no denying the fact that the policemen are also entitled to move around with some degree of safety and security in the performance of their duty. They cannot sleep with what happened to the SOCO team that responded to a slaying case in a remote area in Bansalan, Davao del Sur some months back. The team was ambushed while on its way to the crime scene.

But then, again, our concern with the actuation of the Tugbok police is that if its personnel were apprehensive of the possibility of a repeat of the Bansalan incident, they should have advised the barangay police of the proper thing to do.

Why instead did the desk officer go to the extent of telling the barangay police thrice that the mobile car of the command was already on its way? Why did the police simply tell the caller they would not come because it was quite far and dangerous?

We are hoping that PRO XI director Gaerlan can do something about this police actuation before this could develop into more controversial incidents.

Posted in Opinion