Police chief told: Don’t take sides

ON CEBU City’s 79th Charter Day, Mayor Michael Rama introduced to the public the new acting chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), Senior Supt. Benjamin Santos.

Rama also publicly asked Santos, who assumed his post last month, not to side with anyone in the May 9 national and local elections.

“Benjie, you are not from Cebu. You will come and go, but please…Think of SP. Serve and protect, and make God a witness. Can you give us that assurance?” he asked after calling Santos on stage during his Charter Day message yesterday.

The gesture surprised Santos, who later said he didn’t expect to be asked onstage. The City held its activity on Plaza Sugbo in front of City Hall.

When requested to give a message, Santos asked the community to help CCPO make the city safer.

“We want to bring back the luster of the city as the Queen City of the South, the tourist capital of the Philippines, and help CCPO be one of the finest in the Philippine National Police,” he said.

Interviewed later, Santos assured that the entire police organization is impartial.

“We are just here to implement the law and make sure there is a rule of law,” he said.

Until recently, Santos worked with the office of PNP Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., who, while assigned as Central Visayas police chief nearly four years ago, faced allegations that he used the police force to favor candidates of the Liberal Party. Garbo is retiring this week.

‘No addict’

Rama said there will be “crucial moments” leading up to the May 9 elections and that the city’s peace and order should never be ignored.

In his speech, Rama also took a swipe at his opponent for the mayoral race, former mayor and south district congressman Tomas Osmeña.

He reiterated he doesn’t intend to grant Osmeña’s challenge to join a debate with him.

“They look at me and declare their own conclusion. Shame on them. I am not an addict. I am just like Don Vicente Rama in his growing years, inflicted with diabetes, and that is why I’m getting sexier,” he said.

The mayor also used yesterday’s occasion to challenge City Hall employees to continue serving the City and to work hard as what Don Vicente Rama did.

Vicente Rama drafted the law that, in October 1936, created Cebu City as a chartered city. In 1938, he also became mayor of Cebu City. The current mayor is his grandson.

Heritage

Speaking on behalf of the Rama clan yesterday, the mayor’s son, Atty. Mikel Rama, said the City’s Charter Day celebration always makes him reflect on three things: family, history, and heritage.

He urged fellow Cebuanos to treasure landmarks like the Magellan’s Cross and Colon St.

“It is a reminder for us constituents that these historical landmarks show how far the City has come. We should be responsible in our stewardship, to pursue the greatness of Cebu City for generations to come,” he added.

“In this celebration, my prayer is for us, all of us sons and daughters of the city, not to focus on the things that tear us apart, but rather to focus on things that bring us together—faith, love and family,” he said.

Msgr. Achilles Dakay, who celebrated the thanksgiving mass yesterday, thanked the City for always supporting the church.

In 1937, when Cebu had just become a city, Dakay said there were only six parishes. There are now 25.

After the mass and program yesterday, the Rama clan offered flowers at the bronze monument of Don Vicente Rama in Plaza Sugbo.

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