Local execs seek relief of Agusan town’s police forceBy Chris V. Panganiban
ROSARIO, Agusan del Sur—Local officials of this town want its entire police force sacked for sleeping on the job and failing to prevent burglars from stealing a total of P172,000 cash from several offices in the town hall, located just a few meters from the police station a week ago. It was the second town hall burglary since last month.
“They need to pack up and leave because we don’t want this to happen again,” said Vice Mayor Julie Chua as he expressed dismay over the police’s failure to secure the seat of the local government from thieves.
On the night of Oct. 10, robbers broke into the offices of the municipal treasurer, the municipal social welfare and development officer and even the mayor’s office, taking personal cash as well as the daily collection of taxes by breaking the locks on drawers and a safe.
In an emergency meeting, the local town council agreed to recommend to the higher police officials the immediate relief of Senior Inspector Elezer Pido and the entire 10-man police force for lack of confidence on the part of the local officials that the policemen could fight criminality in the town.
Pido declined comment pending a formal investigation.
Local officials said they were surprised that the police did not notice that the thieves had destroyed the vault in the mayor’s office and the locks on the drawers in the other offices when, at that time, they were busy transferring their furniture and other stuff to the municipal training center. The police office was being moved as the old police station had been dismantled for the construction of a new one.
“How come they could not even hear that the robbers (breaking) the vault with a hammer?” said one official who asked not to be identified.
This was the second burglary in the town hall. Last month, a thief broke into the offices of the mayor and the municipal planning and development officer’s and took away a laptop.
The suspect, who turned out to be a member of the local fire department, was arrested after the buyer of the stolen item reported it to the police.
A team from the Provincial Police Office is still investigating Oct. 10 break-in but irate officials said they could no longer wait for the results and asked for the immediate relief of the entire police force.