PNP strips Cebu City mayor of bodyguards
CEBU CITY—The rift between Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and the local police has widened.
A day after the National Police Commission (Napolcom) withdrew the mayor’s supervisory powers over the local police, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas recalled Osmeña’s three police escorts—SPO1 Adonis Dumpit, SPO2 Richelle Tejano and PO3 Romeo Batuhan.
The three officers were transferred to the Bohol provincial police office.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, Central Visayas police director, explained that the three policemen didn’t have permission from Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Philippine National Police chief, to serve as Osmeña’s security escorts.
In a text message, Taliño said it was the mayor who first withdrew support from the PNP despite the appeal of Dela Rosa for him to reconsider his position.
“He (Osmeña) himself said that the police are on their own. Maybe Napolcom saw that the mayor no longer has interest in helping us, so his being a deputized representative of Napolcom was removed,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Napolcom stripped Osmeña of authority over the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) as a deputized Napolcom representative.
“He (Osmeña) no longer has operational supervision and control,” said lawyer Homer Mariano Cabaral, Napolcom Central Visayas director, who served the Napolcom order to Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.
The Napolcom resolution, dated Aug. 10, was signed by Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno.
Cabaral said Napolcom decided to remove Osmeña’s power over the Cebu City police after the mayor withdrew his support to the local police.
The supervision of the CCPO is now under the regional police office headed by Taliño.
Osmeña is currently on leave for a medical checkup in the United States and is due to be back on Aug. 14.
In a post on Facebook, the mayor said there was nothing to revoke since he wasn’t given the chance to choose the police director he would have wanted to lead the CCPO.
“You mean they’re revoking something I never had in the first place?” said the mayor.
“Being denied the chance to choose someone to work with (which is a violation of the Local Government Code) was the very reason for my protest to begin with,” he continued.
He said he would heed the Napolcom resolution but wanted Cebuanos to realize that the peace and order situation of the city, from now on, would be the sole responsibility of the Napolcom.
Last month, Osmeña withdrew support to the CCPO after Camp Crame relieved former Central Visayas police director Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador and city police director Senior Supt. Benjamin Santos from their posts.
The mayor said he was disappointed over Dela Rosa’s failure to honor a promise to let these officials stay for one more month to prevent a disruption in the city government’s war on drugs.
He said he was not even consulted on the appointment of Senior Supt. Joel Doria as new CCPO chief.
In protest, the mayor announced that he would no longer give the P8,000 monthly cash allowance to the new policemen, including Doria, who would be assigned to Cebu City.
He also ordered the recall of more than 50 guns he had given the city police and expressed doubt about the release of 15 patrol cars and three vans earlier requested by the former Cebu City police chief.
In his Facebook post, Osmeña said the city government has actually been doing a lot for the police and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, such as providing their personnel with incentives and allowances.
He said the CCPO still has 50 vehicles owned by the city. The firearms that he ordered recalled were being repaired and would be to returned to the police in working condition, he added.
Still, the Central Visayas police decided to remove his security escorts.
If he wants to have police security, Taliño said the mayor should follow the procedure.
“If he (Osmeña) asks for a police escort, then he should make a request through PRO-7 and I will recommend it to the chief PNP,” Taliño said.
“For now, he will have no police security escort,” he said.
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