CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña wants the Ombudsman-Visayas to suspend for six months Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino for alleged obstruction of justice.

This came after Dino reportedly asked suspended Ermita barangay captain Felicisimo Rupinta to recommend his replacement.

Osmeña, through the City Legal Office, filed the 15-page complaint last Tuesday before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

“We’re asking the Ombudsman to suspend Dino so that he can’t interfere (with the investigation). He’ll be suspended while Rupinta is suspended also. When Rupinta is no longer suspended, then he can come back,” Osmeña said yesterday.

Along with Rupinta, Barangay Councilors Mark Rizaldy Miral, Antonieto Flores, Ryan Jay Rosas, Alio Tamundo, Domingo Ando, Maria Bianghug and Wilbert Flores were also suspended for six months after they allegedly failed to cooperate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 during a drug raid last Nov. 6. The suspension order was served to the village officials last week by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Prior to his suspension, Rupinta, in an interview dated Jan. 28, said he sent his recommendation of two persons, both residents of Ermita, to the Office of the President after Dino asked for it.

Osmeña, who learned of the development in a local newspaper, said there is a clear abuse of position in Dino’s part for indirectly abetting the alleged wrong practices of the village officials.

An affront

“Rupinta’s alleged lack of support and interest over the war against drugs earned him his tag as drug protector. If so, why would Dino, in his capacity, ask Rupinta to submit his own replacements, who would undoubtedly be his cohorts from Ermita?” the complaint read.

Sought for comment, Dino maintained that he has never meddled in the affairs in Ermita as it is the job of the DILG.

In a statement, Dino’s chief of staff Jonji Gonzales said the case filed by Osmeña is “an affront to the Office of the President.”

“The action of Osmeña is tantamount to an attack to the integrity of the Office of the President. Dino is giving the president advice and he is also being consulted as regards the affairs of the Visayas,” Gonzales said.

He said the mayor’s filing of the case against Dino has no authority from the City Council.

“If Osmeña is just creating a scenario, we will surely find out. It’s his lone whim,” he said.

Dino reiterated that he will file complaints against Osmeña should the latter “persist in defaming his name.”

“Once the case is dismissed, I will file a case against the chief executive of Cebu City. We believe the case is very flimsy and weak and that the Ombudsman will most likely be dismissed for lack of merit,” he said.

Osmeña has recommended some officials to replace Rupinta but his choices were opposed by some residents because they were not from Ermita.