CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday chose Senior Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, Regional Intelligence Division (RID) chief, to replace Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr.
The mayor picked Buenafe based on the latter’s performance as commander of the Task Force Ting, the team that investigated the killing of businessman Manuel Ting and the shooting of his brother Nicolas Ting.
Comendador, when sought for comment, said: “I am prepared to turn over the leadership of the command to an officer whom I believe is most capable to do the job.”
In a news conference yesterday, Rama said he expects Buenafe to be “versatile, dynamic, innovative, and most of all competent” and at the same time prepare a holistic program for the CCPO.
“It should be a holistic program not just on one area that our police would be good at but will be able to understand the discipline that I have been stressing with my staff: mastery of one, knowledge of all and willingness to do all,” he said.
He also expects Buenafe to address the drug problem in the city.
“Because perpetrators would be too bold to commit crimes when they get into drugs. If you look at criminalities, drugs have never been out,” he said.
Rama said the new chief of police should also focus on measures that will prevent crimes, which will include but not be limited to police visibility.
He encouraged Buena-fe to conduct a continuous program for the city force so its members will be reoriented and their skills enhanced.
He said he wants Buenafe to outline a physical fitness program “so their movement (in responding to crimes) will be faster.”
Lastly, Rama wants the new chief to improve the police operatives’ marksmanship.
Rama sent his letter yesterday to Police Deputy General Jesus Versoza recommending the assignment of Buenafe as the new CCPO director.
As for Comendador, reports said he will be transferred to the regional office.
“I am just glad to relinquish my command anytime upon orders, knowing that I’ve done something for the city,” he said.
Comendador has held the post at CCPO since Jan. 2, 2007.
From then on, he said he introduced several innovations in the anti-criminality campaign, like the Night Watch Patrol, where each policeman is required to render a night duty on top of regular duties once a month; the Centralized Beat Patrol; the Task Force Colon; and the creation of the Anti-Street Hoodlums Operating Team, whose primary task is to go after gang members.
Comendador also said no bank heist has taken place in the city since 2008, adding that the last reported bank robbery took place in June 2007 yet.
After learning he was chosen to be the new city director, Buenafe admitted it was welcome news.
“I am very happy about it, but I am also expecting a lot of challenges. But with your (public) support, I expect to be successful,” Buenafe told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
He noted that Cebu City is one of the busiest police offices in Central Visayas and acknowledged that crime is prevalent in the city.
He hopes his impending appointment will earn the support of the community.
He said he did not receive any orders yet but was only told by colleagues about the mayor’s decision.
Though he is originally from Bicol Province and his family is still based there, Buenafe assured he is no stranger to Cebu.
After graduating from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1986, he was immediately assigned to the Police Regional Office 7, then called the Regional Command 7.
He was later assigned to Negros Oriental for five years, but often had to return back and forth to Cebu to transact business at the Recom 7 office.
He returned to Negros Oriental as the provincial director in December 2005.
In June 2008, he was reassigned to the RID.
Buenafe is also fluent in Bisaya.