TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, November 26 (PIA) –Worried over the withdrawal of barangay intelligence network assets from sharing information due to the threat of death or harm, Governor Edgar Chatto assured local leaders that information shared are always treated confidential.
That means, all shared information are treated with utmost secrecy, highlighting the security of informants would be on top of the issue in these cases, the governor who heads the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) said November 26.
At an out of town PPOC meeting, no less than meeting host and Calape Mayor Sulpicio Yu Jr. aired his apprehension as many of the recruited intelligence network workers in the barangays have shared to him their intent to stop in the intelligence work.
Mayor Yu relayed to the PPOC that one of the barangay intelligence assets in town was gunned down, following the successful raid and disbandment of a local drug ring.
“He is a victim of drug syndicates,” local sources at the PPOC meeting said. Authorities however did not confirm or deny the allegations.
While police are still pursuing investigations of the murder, Bohol police chief Colonel Dennis Agustin said that the victim was also openly revealing to people his role in the raid.
For him, the governor said in working as intelligence assets, it is always a bad idea to flaunt about the position.
“Barangay assets are given the responsibility, but these are not to be flaunted,” Chatto, who was joined by the Vice Governor and Congressman Rene Relampagos in the presidential table during the meeting.
Over the information shared by Calape, the governor admitted the issue warrants attention.
“Volunteerism side of the informants would be overtaken by fears of reprisals,” Chatto affirmed.
Over similar apprehensions, Chatto reported that during a recent barangay officials’ congress, out of fear, barangay officials would rather report via a hotline than be traced and be the object of reprisals.
Moreover, the PPOC tackled the problem of barangay officials who, by law are mandated to attest to the evidence inventory during drug raids in their respective areas.
But, barangay officials who would rather stay off these drug responsibilities usually appoint other barangay officials to do the job during raids, so they would not be identified.
Officials fear that being there at the raid would be tantamount to an appearance in court hearings, which, apart from adding hassles to the officials time, it would also entail travel funds which the barangay could not legally disburse.
Chatto, who personally brought the issues at the barangay congress to the PPOC said, the recent drug problem has also pushed local leaders to seek Barangay Legal Aid from Capitol when drug incidents let them go to courts.
Barangay Officials are also asking if the interior and local government could issue guidelines to charge travel expenses incurred during these drug duties from the barangay coffers.
The PPOC chair however clarified that barangay officials are only mandated to witness the inventory of confiscated items according to what was in the warrant or evidence gathered during the operations.
“You only have to attest the truth that the items confiscated were really belonging to the suspects,” Chatto, who is also a lawyer but opted to be a public servant, explained.
Despite all these issues, Col Agustin allayed BIN’s fears on information gathering.
Don’s you worry, Agustin said.
In line with our Oplan Lambat-Sibat, police authorities have seen how people have been leaking critical information to the police, a fact that resulted to highly successful raids which cornered drug personalities in every town of Bohol. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)