Rama revives Cebu City’s ‘morality’ police

THE Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board (Caib) is back to protect constituents against immorality.

Mayor Michael Rama appointed former city administrator Lucelle Mercado to head the board.

If her name seems familiar, it is because Mercado also headed the Caib during Rama’s second term as mayor in 2013.

At its height during Rama’s first two terms as mayor, Caib was able to put a stop to lewd shows in bars and “distasteful” comics and articles in tabloids and radio dramas. It caused the closure of entertainment establishments and massage parlors that offered “extra” service. It took down billboards and signs that violated City Ordinance 1408, or the Anti-Indecency Ordinance.

“I would say that we will give the same intensity or even more to fight against indecent, lewd presentations by any platforms to limit if not to totally stop the actions that violate our Caib ordinance because the members that composed the previous board were the same people that our mayor has called upon,” Mercado said.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, Caib convened for the first time in seven years to discuss its next line of action.

Mercado said that based on their agreement, they will request the mayor to provide the board with space to store documents and evidence they will seize in future operations.

The Caib became inactive after Rama lost his reelection bid to Tomas Osmeña in 2016 and remained inactive during the two years the late mayor Edgardo Labella was in office.

Mercado said they will soon inspect entertainment establishments and massage parlors and monitor programs on the radio and television, newspapers, magazines, billboards and signages, among others.

To help Mercado in Caib are Attorneys Aida Sanchez, Matet Casiño, Cherry Roble, Allan Geotina; City Councilors Phillip Zafra and Franklyn Ong; Carol Diola; Yting Esperidion; Joy Balboa; Cebu City Police Office Director Ireneo Dalogdog; and representatives of the Department of Education and the Sangguniang Kabataan.

During the 35th en banc session of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) on July 17, 2014, the CCPC condemned Caib’s unlawful seizures of published materials that violated the Supreme Court guidelines for determining obscenity and confiscation of obscene materials as well as asked the higher government official to whom the board was accountable to caution its members to observe due process as prescribed by law and jurisprudence. (PAC / PJB)