Reinstating police authority
When he received news that his operational control over the city police will be reinstated, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña kept mostly to himself and declined to comment on this development lest, he said, he would get misquoted again by the media.
Which is the most practical thing to do at this point given that the Duterte administration won’t brook any opposition nor criticism on its war against illegal drugs even if the President and Mayor Osmeña are said to be close.
To recall, the mayor’s operational control was withdrawn after Osmeña withdrew not only the cash reward for drug suspects killed — an option no one can criticize him on since it didn’t come from government funds — but reportedly the cash allowances, as well as the recall of service firearms.
The order to withdraw operational control supposedly came from within the President’s inner circle, and anyone informed about local political developments knows of a few who has direct access to President Duterte.
While Osmeña’s ally, Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, did the public lobbying for the return of police control to the mayor, there were unconfirmed reports that the mayor asked the President to return his operational authority over the police.
Whether or not there is any iota of truth in it, the fact is that Mayor Osmeña simply cannot act as if he owns the police lock, stock and two smoking barrels even if he funds them from the city’s coffers.
As to the possibility of the mayor being able to work with Senior Supt. Joel Doria, Cebu City police chief, it remains to be seen. Regardless, any local executive for that matter can evaluate and complain to the powers that be about the police chief and lobby for his removal.
Being a professional, Doria can simply do his job to keep the city peaceful and can rely on national government support to ensure that he does his job well as evidenced by the additional police cars and firearms received recently.
Mayor Osmeña had been criticized for being arrogant and used to getting his way with national government agencies and officials; and the experience of having his operational authority over the police taken from him by a sitting President, whom he considered a familiar old friend, may still have been quite jarring to him.
The withdrawal of operational authority by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) which is a direct order from President Duterte is a reminder to Osmeña, the mayors and the governors about who’s the real boss here, namely the President himself.
Now that he has regained full control over the city police anew, we hope the mayor sets aside his hang-ups and reservations about working with Doria and simply let him do his job well since, like him, the safety and security of Cebu City residents and visitors remain paramount.
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