TOMAS WANTS POLICE POWER BACK

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Nestle L. Semilla |August 17,2016 - 11:32 PM
Cebu City mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Cebu City mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña wants to regain his power over the city police force.
Osmeña, interviewed by phone by City Hall reporters yesterday, said he would be asking the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to reconsider its decision withdrawing his authority over the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

Osmeña said he would be filing a motion for reconsideration “anytime soon.”

The mayor would also heed the order of Senior Supt. Noli Taliño, the director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7) to turn over to the police all city-owned firearms that were unlicensed or have expired licenses.

“We are returning all the firearms. We already started it yesterday. Basta we will return them all,” he said.

Lawyer Homer Mariano Cabaral, director of the National Police Commission in Central Visayas (Napolcom-7), however, said that even if Osmeña would file a motion for reconsideration, only President Rodrigo Duterte, not the Napolcom, has the authority give police control back to him.

“Napolcom could not reinstate his deputization power. Only the President can,” Cabaral told Cebu Daily News by phone.

He said the mayor could ask for reconsideration anytime since there was no restriction as to the period for the filing of the motion.

“If he (Osmeña) files it before Napolcom-7, then we will endorse it to the en banc. Of course, it will be the en banc who will look into it because the decision was issued by them,” he added.

But Cabaral said that under Republic Act 8551 or the “act providing for the reform and reorganization of the Philippine National Police and other purposes,” only the President can restore the authority of the mayor over the police.

“If he (Osmeña) wants to get it back, he can file a motion for reconsideration or he better talk to President Duterte,” Cabaral said.

Integrity, reputation

The mayor, who was out of City Hall for a meeting and spoke to reporters gathered at his office via a phone placed on speaker mode, did not explain why he decided to ask Napolcom to reconsider.

But in a later interview over radio station dyHP last night, Osmeña said he decided to file a motion for reconsideration because he wanted to protect his name.

“I just want to protect myself. Protect my name, my integrity and my reputation,” he said.

He said the police have a wrong interpretation of the Napolcom rules that was used as a basis in withdrawing his operational supervision and control over the city police.
He said that he never took anything away from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) that could constitute an act contrary to public interest.

Earlier, Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, in defense of Osmeña, delivered a privilege speech in Congress to say that Napolcom was “grossly misinformed that the mayor is guilty of engaging in acts inimical to national security or which negate the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign as alleged.”

Napolcom, in an en banc resolution on Aug. 10, used this as a basis to remove from Osmeña the authority as deputized representative of the commission in response of the mayor’s decision to withdraw support from the CCPO. As a result, Osmeña no longer has say over the operation of the CCPO.

Osmeña was the first local chief executive in Central Visayas (Region 7) who was stripped of control over police.

But the mayor said he never took away anything that was already given to the CCPO, including the allowances due to the city policemen.

He said the call of the Cebu City Council for him to give back the support to the police was not correct, even as it was true that he withheld the allowance for the new CCPO chief, Senior Supt. Joel Doria.

“You have to analyze, precisely ibalik. Sa ato pa I pulled it out? I did not pull out anything. What did I pull out? How can I pull it out (if) I did not give it? I never granted it,” he said.

As to the firearms, he said they already turned over to PRO-7 the city-owned shotguns while waiting for the release of the licenses that were still being processed.

Record from the Cebu City General Services Office (GSO showed that the city owned 254 unlicensed firearms, of which 20 shotguns were turned to PRO-7 on Tuesday and another 10 M14 rifles were turned over on Wednesday.

No shortcuts

Cabaral, however, said Napolcom went through the required process before it decided to take away Osmeña’s authority over the local police.

He said that when Osmeña publicly announced that he would no longer support the Cebu City police, they immediately conducted an investigation based on Napolcom Memorandum Circular 2001-003, which granted them the authority to launch a probe on its own or motu propio.

The results of the investigation were forwarded to Napolcom en banc in Manila, which, after a thorough deliberation, decided to withdraw the deputization powers granted to Osmeña as a city mayor over the local police.

Last month, Osmeña withdrew support to the CCPO and the newly appointed police officers, and washed his hands off the fight against illegal drugs and criminality after Camp Crame relieved former Police Regional Office-7 Director Patrocinio Comendador and CCPO Director Benjamin Santos from their posts, and reshuffled local police units.

The mayor also abandoned the cash reward system for each dead crime suspect and announced that he would stop giving allowances to new policemen who would be assigned to the city, including the P8,000 allowance for the city police chief.

Soon after, the mayor also decided to recall all the city-owned firearms issued to the CCPO, withheld the gasoline allowance for police patrol cars and halted the release of the 15 new police cars that were already set to be delivered to the CCPO.

The mayor did not only end up losing his authority over the police, he also lost the three policemen assigned to him as his security details. Moreover, he was ordered to turn over to PRO-7 all city-owned unlicensed firearms.

Make a request

Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, PRO-7 deputy director for operations, meanwhile, said that if Osmeña would want to get back his police escorts, he could request for security details from Taliño.

“Like any other persons who may have threats to their lives, the mayor can always write a request for security escort,” said Lawas, who spoke in behalf of Taliño who was in Camp Crame yesterday.

Last week, Osmeña lost his three police escorts, including his controversial and trusted aide SPO1 Adonis Dumpit.

Camp Crame ordered the recall of Osmeña’s escorts who did not have permission from Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to serve as the mayor’s security aides.

Meanwhile, Osmeña said he would also want to reconvene the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (PCAC), which has been dormant in the past six months.
PCAC is a committee which composed of different national agencies like the CCPO, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) among others.

During the past administration, PCAC had a weekly meeting presided by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.

This time, however, Osmeña said he would head the PCAC.

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