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Cebu City mayor wants Comelec to look into police situation in the city

/ 05:14 PM May 07, 2019

“I want her out.”

This was the message conveyed by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña amid the rift between him and Police Col. Royina Garma.

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“Yes (I want Garma out). Shhh, don’t tell anyone,” quipped Osmeña during a media forum.

“The previous one (Col. Joel Doria) was very good. Why should we gamble again? I think Doria did an excellent job here in Cebu. And I wish he (Doria) (would) replace (Police Brigadier Gen. Debold) Sinas. I think he (Doria) will do better.”

Osmeña accused Garma of receiving payola from illegal gambling activities at P800,000 per day in 2018. He also said that for the first time in Cebu, the police was being used for politics because of Garma.

The mayor is asking the Commission on Elections to look into the situation in Cebu City where the police are allegedly used in politics. This stance was also shared by Senator Panfilo Lacson who also called the attention of the Comelec before “things get out of hand.”

Osmeña said he appreciated the gesture of Senator Lacson whom he said is privy to what is going on in the police because he was a policeman himself.

“When he (Lacson) makes a statement, there is very high credibility on what he says,” the mayor emphasized.

The mayor described Garma as the most influential police chief in the country but said he has to take a stand on behalf of the Cebuanos to promote peace in the city and preserve democracy here.

“Let me tell you that even the Generals take orders from her. And this puzzles me. She is now being groomed, I heard, as the next chief of the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) which to me, if you connect the dots you will see a clearer picture of what’s going on,” said the Mayor during the 888 News Forum this morning.

“This is the first time that the police is being used for politics. This has never happened before. Even (President) Duterte when he was mayor of Davao, he ran after criminals and even kills them but he never used the police for politics. This is the first time, and that is why I am very very disappointed (with the police),” said Osmeña.

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Osmeña urged his supporters in the mountain barangays to just play along with the police if they are being harassed. I don’t want my people to sacrifice, he added.

Garma denied Osmeña’s accusations and urged the mayor to just file cases against her. The police director has been in Malacanang Palace since Monday after President Duterte called her to a meeting.

The conflict between Osmeña and Garma and Sinas started when a policeman was accused of attempting to assassinate a barangay official allied with the mayor in 2018. The barangay official but was able to fight back and killed the policeman.

The mayor then accused the police of using checkpoint operations on the streets to harass his supporters. There were also strafing incidents in the mountain barangays, which the mayor believed were perpetrated by the police.

Both camps filed charges and countercharges against each other on the checkpoint incidents.

The mayor also criticized the police for the viral video where Cebu City policemen mauled a civilian.

Early this month, Osmeña believed that his political opponents and the police were behind the viral photo of him playing poker game at a wine shop in Cebu City. A case was lodged against him at the Ombudsman for unethical behavior.

“Every election I am always accused of something: Dodge car, I am dying, I am selling CCMC (hospital), so to me this is normal. Let my lawyers handle that. I really find it silly but I have not read the case. The burden of proof is on them and not on me,” Osmeña said of the case filed by private citizen Conrado Romano.

Osmeña said he would answer the allegations on the “poker game” issue at the proper venue. /lzb

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: Cebu City, elections 2019, Local news, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, ‎Police, Royina Garma
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