Mayor questions Swat presence in Sapangdaku-A A +A
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama ordered the head of the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to explain the presence of Swat personnel in Barangay Sapangdaku, Cebu City last Sunday.
The Swat team was allegedly accompanying members of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) during a pulong-pulong in Sitio Kaymitohon at 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
In his regular news conference yesterday, Rama questioned the presence of Swat, saying there was no crime or a crime about to be committed in the area.
"Police should only be there when there is a crime or a crime to be committed. They should not be there unless that place has continuing lawlessness," he said.
Rama also said he had received complaints from Sapangdaku barangay officials about Swat's presence there.
There were reportedly three members of the Swat team and three patrol cars from CCPO's Mobile Patrol Group accompanying BOPK members, headed by former mayor now Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) during the pulong-pulong.
Osmeña is challenging Rama in the mayoral race in the May 13 midterm polls.
Yesterday, Rama called to his office Swat Chief Arnel Banzon to justify the presence of Swat in Sapangdaku.
Banzon said the Swat personnel were only responding to an alarm about a "tigbakay" or illegal cockfighting in the area, where there's an armed man.
He said the incident has a blotter entry at the CCPO.
"Standard operating procedure man gyud na nato nga kung mo-responde gani ug naay armado, ang mobile ubanan gyud og Swat (It's our procedure to be always accompanied by a Swat team if the alarm involves an armed person)," he said.
"Na-taymingan lang seguro nga niadto ang Swat didto unya naa pod sila (BOPK). There is really no issue here," he said.
Sapangdaku Barangay Captain Lorna Damalerio dismissed the claims of Banzon.
While there was tigbakay in the area, she said there was no armed man and that the Swat team stayed and only pulled out when the BOPK members left.
Asked about the matter, Osmeña said he hasn't seen any members of the Swat team during their visit to Sapangdaku last Sunday.
"There were over 500 people in that pulong-pulong. They are our witness to the absence of Swat," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 05, 2013.