TO ARREST the rise in shooting attacks, help the police solve problems in morale and limited intelligence-gathering capability, two officials said.

Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) also objected to speculations the so-called vigilantes are behind the attacks, at least six of them in the last six weeks.

Gov. Gwen Garcia, without naming names, recently said she has been receiving reports the gunmen hired in the recent attacks are the same vigilantes who killed over a hundred suspected or newly released criminals in Cebu City starting December 2004.

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Osmeña, who was mayor from July 2001 to June 30, 2010, said Garcia’s statement lacks basis and cited as an example the suspected gunman behind the attack on Cresistomo “Tata Negro” Llaguno.

Llaguno was shot dead last May, while campaigning in Barangay Lorega San Miguel. Police arrested a suspected gunman from Oriental Negros.

“You look at all the last five years nga mga nadakpan tungod sa patay bitaw, di man na taga-Cebu, puros man na sila taga-gawas (All those arrested in connection with the killings were not from Cebu),” Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Young said in a separate interview.

Both officials, however, expressed concern on the rising attacks.

Top police officials in Cebu and Mandaue took up the problem at the regional office yesterday, while the governor is scheduled to meet this week with the police and National Bureau of Investigation.

Osmeña said the attacks show criminals no longer fear law enforcement agencies, like the police.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who visited Cebu for the One Cebu Expo, urged the police to solve the recent killings quickly.

Filomeno Lim, president of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, appealed to local leaders to pay extra attention to the rise of fatal shootings, saying it’s bad for business and may scare away tourists.

“Our local government should take care of that,” Lim told Sun.Star Cebu.

“How will tourists come here if they don’t feel safe?” he added.

Checkpoints

In a dyLA interview, Osmeña said the “low morale” of the city’s police force is affecting their performance. Osmeña said he observed the policemen are demoralized, perhaps because they are not attended to.

He said the demoralization began after the arrest of SPO1 Adonis Dumpit, who shot and killed a suspect while responding to a robbery alarm. Dumpit is facing a murder charge and currently under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Young, for his part, said there is a need for the city’s police department to organize more checkpoints.

“Thinking of police visibility? Simple, mag-checkpoint,” he said. He also said there is a need to improve the police’s intelligence gathering capabilities.

“I think that is one of their weaknesses now. Di pareha sa America bitaw nga nga scientific kayo (In the United States, that is done very scientifically). We need to go to that level,” he said. (PDF/RSA)