Mayor Duterte slams relief of Davao City cops, change in MinDA

Mayor Duterte slams relief of Davao City cops, change in MinDA

Lawyer: Revived drug war in Davaomay help speed up ICC probe

Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte —Albert Alcain/Presidential photo

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte of this city has criticized the sudden relief of the police chief and 34 other personnel of the Davao City police office and expressed dismay over the leadership tussle at the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

Duterte, in a statement, asked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to explain the relief of the 35 police officers who, he said, were just doing their job of fighting the spread of illegal drugs in the city.


READ: Davao police chief relieved from post amid probe into drug ops deaths


“I would like to hear from the Department of the Interior and Local Government or even the President. This issue, which resurfaced a month ago, warrants their input and a clear reason behind such a drastic measure. We cannot ignore the possibility that this may be politically motivated,” Duterte said.

READ: New MinDa chief takes post on Monday as incumbent refuses to step down

The mayor has been criticized for reviving the bloody antidrug campaign of his father, former President Rodrigo Duterte, at the time when the International Criminal Court started an investigation into the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug addicts and criminals during his father’s term as city mayor here and as the country’s president.

Police Maj. Catherine dela Rey, spokesperson for the Davao Police Regional Office 11 (PRO 11), said the relief was based on the recommendation of the Regional Internal Affairs Service 11 (RIAS 11) to place the personnel under administrative relief while they were investigating the city police’s operations between March 23 to March 26 that killed seven drug suspects.

“Such action was not taken lightly, but with thorough deliberation and with profound consideration of all the facts and surrounding circumstances of the RIAS 11 investigation,” said a statement from PRO 11.

Dela Rey said the suspended personnel would immediately be reinstated once they were cleared of culpability.


Duterte, however, questioned the large number of personnel who were relieved.


“Our police force, under my administration, has been unwavering in this battle, executing legitimate operations aimed at dismantling drug networks and ensuring the safety of our citizens. The dedication of our officers in this war on drugs should be commended, not undermined by indiscriminate administrative actions. I call for a fair and balanced investigation that maintains the effectiveness and morale of our law enforcement agencies,” he said.

In a separate statement, the mayor called the removal of MinDA Secretary Maria Belen Acosta, an appointee of his father, as “deplorable,” it was done “without fair and transparent procedure or valid rationale.”

“The blatant display of vindictiveness by the current administration is deeply troubling and disheartening, as it undermines fundamental principles of fairness and respect for due process,” the mayor said.

Duterte added: “President [Marcos’] sudden appointment of Mr. Leo Magno to a position that wasn’t vacant raises serious concerns about the transparency of decision-making and the treatment of dedicated public servants like Secretary Acosta.”

On Monday, Acosta joined the flag-raising ceremony on the 10th floor of the Pryce Building. She then proceeded to the building’s 14th floor, where she regularly held office. Acosta earlier filed a quo warranto petition questioning Magno’s appointment while she was still serving her term of office.

“The lack of transparency of Malacañang and the confusion surrounding her removal is deplorable and deeply concerning,” said the mayor, describing Acosta as a “dedicated leader,” and as someone “embodying the spirit of public service.”

Magno, who reported at the 10th floor where most of MinDA’s officers, staff, and rank-and-file employees worked on Monday, said he expected the Commission on Audit to come up with a legal opinion anytime soon as to who had the authority to sign MinDA’s papers and documents.

On Tuesday, Magno left for Brunei as part of the party of President Marcos. A statement from Magno’s camp said the President invited Magno to join his visit from May 28 to May 29 to Brunei, one of the four countries that compose the East Asean Growth Area economic polygon composed of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (BIMP), in which the MinDA chair also serves as a signing minister for the country.

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In his speech before the Filipino community in Brunei on Tuesday, the President recognized Magno as the secretary of MinDA and that Brunei is “closer to Mindanao.”

TAGS: Davao City Police Office, Sebastian Duterte

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