Cebu City mayor wants police powers back

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña plans to ask the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to reconsider its order to withdraw his operational command and control over the local police.

In a teleconference with reporters yesterday, Osmeña, who was getting ready to meet with some investors outside City Hall, said that he will file the motion “anytime now.”

He declined to reveal the details about his response to the Napolcom resolution, which then Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella received last Aug. 10, while the mayor was in the United States for a check-up.

Section 455 of the Local Government Code gives city mayors the power to “act as the deputized representative” of the Napolcom, which includes exercising “general and operational control and supervision over the local police.”

For its part, the Cebu City Government’s General Services Office (GSO) clarified that there was no order for the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to return the new patrol cars that were earlier distributed to them.

GSO Acting Chief Ronald Malacora made the correction after the police turned over to City Hall yesterday four new Mitsubishi Adventure patrol cars, which were part of the 18 new vehicles distributed last April by then mayor Michael Rama.

Council’s move

These patrol cars were assigned to different police stations under CCPO.

Meanwhile, the City Council appealed to the mayor to reconsider his decision to withdraw the City’s support from the police.

u201cYou have to analyze precisely what is ibalik (supposed to be returned),” Osmeña said.

In a privilege speech during last Tuesday’s regular session, Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr., said the maintenance of peace and order in the city is not the job of only one agency.

He said he hoped that Osmeña would change his mind and that the mayor and the police would reconcile soon.

No pullout

Osmeña, however, pointed out he hasn’t withdrawn anything to begin with.

u201cSo, sa ato pa (you mean), I pulled it out? I did not pull out anything. What did I pull out (from the police)?” he asked.

One of the concerns raised was the cutting of allowances for police officers newly assigned to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

Since assuming office last month, the mayor has been trying to cut City Hall’s expenses.

In his regular news conference last July 15, Osmeña announced that the City Government will no longer provide allowances to newly assigned police officers in the city, including CCPO Director Senior Supt. Joel Doria.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to reach the mayor again a few hours after the teleconference, but he begged off, saying he was no longer available for interviews for the day.

The Napolcom’s resolution took effect immediately upon receipt.

It carried the signatures of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Napolcom vice chairman Rogelio Casurao, Commissioners Felizardo Serapio Jr., Job Mangente, Zenaida Brosas, and Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa.

Guns yielded

The day after that, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 pulled out Osmeña’s three police escorts, including SPO1 Adonis Dumpit, who has been transferred to Bohol.

The PRO 7 also ordered the Cebu City Government to surrender to the police all its 249 unlicensed firearms, for safekeeping.

Osmeña said the City will heed the PRO 7’s order.

u201cWe already started yesterday (Aug. 16),” he said.

As to the matter of the vehicles, City Hall’s Malacora pointed out that there was a miscommunication, and that the police misinterpreted a memorandum from Mayor Osmeña that ordered him to put on hold the 15 additional Toyota Hi-lux vehicles for the police.

u201cAko silang giingnan nga wala man na namo gi-recall. Lain ilang interpretation (I explained to them that those vehicles were not recalled. They interpreted the memo differently),” he said.

Although the memo was addressed to him, Malacora said the CCPO was furnished a copy.

Keep them

Earlier, City Hall was planning to distribute additional vehicles to the police but put this on hold after Osmeña ended his support to the anti-illegal drug campaign of the police. That was his reaction to the decision to replace some police officials.

Senior Superintendent Doria confirmed that the patrol cars were already returned to different police stations yesterday, after a City Hall official clarified there was no recall order from the mayor.

u201cI was informed na pinabalik po yung mga sasakyan na hindi kasali sa recall. Ipapagamit na po sa mga stations (I was informed that the vehicles that were not recalled were sent back to us. The stations will use these),” he said.

Malacora said he already talked with Supt. Artemio Ricabo, the deputy city director for administration of CCPO, and clarified the contents of the memo.

The only vehicles that were returned to the City were the two units of Toyota Fortuner and a Mitsubishi Montero, which were earlier used by the former CCPO director, Senior Supt. Benjamin Santos, and two of his deputy directors.

u201cAside from the three cars, (there are) no new orders recalling other City-issued vehicles from the police,” Malacora said.


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