Police employ demolition protocol

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Friday, August 8, 2014

THE Cagayan de Oro City police insisted its team behind the Dacudao compound demolition in Barangay Puntod on August 4 followed protocol in employing a court order to dismantle houses in the area.

“It was not our fault why the man died. We have a protocol and we followed it,” Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) spokesman Superintendent Lemuel Gonda said on Wednesday.

Jonathan Bandianon, a member of the demolition team, blamed the police “who did not conduct clearing operations prior to the demolition amid knowledge on the presence of some armed men in a barricaded area.”


“Tig demolish raman mi. Ngano naa pa man gyud namatyan mi nga igo raman mi gi-instructionan na mangguba lang sa mga balay (We’re just tasked to dismantle houses. Why was it that one of us had to die when we were just following instructions?),” Bandianon earlier said.

A member of the demolition team, Albert Acma, was shot in the eye by a still unidentified man using an improvised shotgun. A police officer was also wounded during the commotion following Acma’s slaying.

Although many of the Dacudao residents pointed to a certain “Estong” as the culprit behind Acma’s shooting, police are still doubtful if he was indeed the suspect since no one saw him commit the act.

After the incident, four suspects were brought to the Macabalan police station for interrogation.

Gonda reiterated the policemen who were deployed in the area, the Cocpo’s City Public Safety Company, followed instructions and knew that their prime role in demolition is “only” to secure the area.

“We do not charge immediately into the peoples’ houses because that is human rights violation also. [For our part], we only secure the area. If there were weapons brought by the residents, which we did not know prior to the incident, we still have to verify the information by catching them on the act. Pwede mi musulod ug balay ana (we can enter a residence) if that is the case. It was the sheriff’s job to negotiate with the people who resisted against the demolition,” Gonda told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Sheriff Celestial Gelbolingo and assistant Joseph Maagad, being the ground commanders, tried to “settle” with the residents who opposed but they were still persistent as evidenced by the barricades they had put up at the entrance of the compound.

“We did not expect this actually that there were armed men. But we tried talking to them,” Maagad said, adding that their effort to talk to residents had only angered the latter.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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