By LITO RULONA
MAYOR Oscar Moreno yesterday found himself on the defensive as his challenger Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the city’s 2nd District blamed his administration for the perceived worsening peace and order situation in the city.
Speaking during the forum “Kalambuan sa Kalambaguhan” at Xavier University, Rodriguez faulted the Moreno administration and the police over what he said was a failure to put in place proper security measures in the city.
Rodriguez cited the ambush that left Marawi Mayor Fahad Salic and his driver wounded near a hotel in upper Carmen over the weekend, and the daring broad daylight robbery near malls on CM Recto Ave. early this month to point out that the city’s peace and order problem has worsened.
Moreno, for his part, said he has instructed city police director Senior Supt. Faro Antonio Olaguera to identify suspects in the weekend ambush, and arrest them the soonest possible.
But Moreno said the ambush and other criminal cases were in the hands of the police, and these could be solved through police operations.
Moreno also appealed to citizens with useful information to help the police.
Authorities said they suspect that the suspects are still hiding in the city.
During the forum, Rodriguez, the mayoral candidate of the Centrist Democratic Party (CDP), said people don’t feel secure in the city because of city hall’s failure to improve local law enforcement.
“Moreno and the local police failed to keep us safe [as shown] by the series of heinous crimes happening in the city right now,” he said.
He cited data from the National Police that show that Cagayan de Oro is the fifth city in the country with the highest crime index.
Rodriguez said the mayor should answer for these given that the police is under his supervision and control.
The congressman said he was also alarmed over the number of summary killings, and cases of robbery, rape, and stabbing, among others, in the city.
The city, he said, is No. 1 in northern Mindanao in terms of illegal drugs.
“Illegal drug leads to criminality. How can we achieve our economic goals, and become competitive when illegal drugs are very rampant here?” Rodriguez asked rhetorically.
He said there was a lack of support by city hall to the police because partisan politics got in the way between the executive and legislative branches of the local government.