Editorial: Battling rising criminality

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

SENIOR Supt. Noli Romana is Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s police chief. Everybody, or at least those who were aware of developments in the city especially a few weeks after Rama won reelection, knows that.

Rama lobbied for Romana then over Mariano Natu-el, who was appointed as city police chief without the mayor’s imprimatur during the May 2013 campaign period. It was obvious Rama didn’t know Romana that much but he insisted on his appointment to the post apparently because he wanted to assert his authority as the city’s chief executive.

When the Philippine National Police (PNP) hierarchy finally gave in, Romana, and to a certain extent Rama, ended up needing to prove that all the noise made about the choice of city police chief was justified.


Meaning that the fuss over rising criminality in the city is not totally unexpected.

That is even why Rama turns grumpy when talks shift to the city’s peace and order situation. He obviously wants the blame to remain at the level of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and not go up the rungs and stop in his office.

To be fair, everything starts and ends with Romana. Battling criminality in the city is a continuing one. If the city’s police force and its chief ease up, then criminals and the criminal minded are emboldened. There’s another analogy there: cat-and-mouse interaction.

Aggressiveness should also be coupled with a good dose of creativity. There should be no letup in finding better ways to make the war against criminality more effective. Here, the focus should be on both crime prevention and solution.

To an ordinary observer, though, the CCPO seemed to have shifted to cruise mode months after Romana became the city’s police chief. Efforts to make the police visible in the city have been erratic. There seems to be a lack of drive in solving incidents of petty crimes.

Romana’s leadership style can be described as passive. That is different from being merely calm. A police chief can put up a calm front in public but can actually be aggressive away from the limelight in his work. Not in this case. And the passivity seemed to have rubbed off on the entire CCPO.

Hopefully, what is happening now will jolt Romana into action. He should find ways to make the CCPO whir with productive activity.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 30, 2014.


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