How Lacson Cracked Down on Crimes in Cebu With Scarce Resources

NAGA CITY, Cebu – No gas? No logistics? No problem.

With this mindset, a young lieutenant colonel named Panfilo “Ping” Lacson solved the crime problem in this province when he headed the Cebu Metropolitan District Command (MetroDisCom) from 1989 to 1992.

Lacson, who eventually went on to head the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, said he ordered foot patrols that turned out to be the key to bringing down crime rates not only in Cebu City but also in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu Cities.

Related: Paano Napababa ni Lacson ang Krimen sa Cebu

“Kulang ang aming gas and logistics and we are relying on logistics from then Philippine Constabulary headquarters in Camp Crame. I told my men, if you don’t have gas, you might as well walk, patrol on foot. That’s what we did under strict supervision,” Lacson, who is running for President under Partido Reporma, said at the Online Kumustahan here Friday afternoon.

“Ang laki ng ni-reduce ng crime rate (Crime rates were reduced significantly) in Cebu City, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu at the time,” he added.

Lacson became an “Adopted Son of Cebu” with his outstanding performance as then Cebu MetroDisCom head. Residents had asked the late former President Corazon Aquino to extend his two-year term as field commander, which would have ended in August 1991. He stayed as MetroDisCom chief until February 1992 when he was transferred to Laguna.

During his stint in Cebu, Lacson recalled he and his men rescued a young kidnap victim, the scion of the Gaisano clan. Lacson and his men rescued the boy and neutralized the kidnappers, but declined the victim’s relatives’ offer of a reward – agreeing to a “reward” of P1 for each member of his team only to comply with the beliefs of the victim’s relatives that it would be bad luck if he declined.

“From then on we solved crime after crime after crime,” Lacson noted.

But Lacson continued to think of ways to solve the logistics problem, and hit on the solution when he headed the PNP and ordered that the allocation of PNP resources be reversed.

He ordered that from the then formula of 60 percent of resources in headquarters and 40 percent distributed to the field, 85 percent of PNP resources should be downloaded to the frontline units and the remaining 15 percent retained in headquarters.

As senator, Lacson retained his advocacy for an equitable distribution of resources through his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE), making sure resources are downloaded to the local government units so they can have more autonomy and accountability in implementing their projects.

Lacson visited this city Friday for his and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s Online Kumustahan. Sotto, Lacson’s vice presidential candidate, is running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem received a warm welcome from residents and local officials. With them were Partido Reporma senatorial bets Guillermo Eleazar, Minguita Padilla, and Monsour del Rosario.

Also, Lacson and Sotto met with former Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) head Winston Garcia, brother of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in Cebu City.