By: Morexette Marie B. Erram September 18,2018 - 01:35 AM

OMPONG BRIEFING: President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the post-typhoon situation briefing in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on Sept. 16, 2018 where, as the meeting is winding down, he slams Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña for the release of three butane refillers
arrested by the Parian police in August. With the President are Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Ilocos Norte Gov Imee Marcos.

President Rodrigo Duterte is not yet done bashing Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

While presiding over the Ompong situation briefing in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on Sunday evening, an offhand mention of Osmeña’s name triggered a round of presidential tongue-lashing directed against the Cebu City mayor.

“This guy must be crazy. Pupunta doon sa presuhan tapos ipa-release ‘yung mga nahuli (He went to the detention facility just to release those who were arrested). Those arrested by the police, he demanded the release. Filean mo nag kaso (File a case against him),” said Mr. Duterte.

“May mga ano talaga. Eh, mga Bisaya may ganun rin. ‘Yung hindi mo maintindihan ‘yung utak. Mga g*** (There are Bisayans like that. You cannot understand how their minds work. They’re stupid),” he added.

The President’s new tirade against Osmeña pertained to the release of three detainees who were arrested for violation of Presidential Decree No. 1865.

PD No. 1865, which was issued by ousted President Ferdinand Marcos, prohibits the distribution and selling of illegally refilled butane canisters.

President Duterte, who presided over the conference, was accompanied by several Cabinet officials such as Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año Jr., and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

Mr. Duterte made the remarks against the mayor as the briefing was winding down and after Puyat made some remarks about the President’s Cebuano roots, mentioning Osmeña in the process.

“Ako, talagang kami (family) mga original na Bisaya. Pero Maranao ang lola ko. (Me and my family are originally Bisaya. But my grandmother is a Maranao.) My mother is a half-Maranao. But for me, I identify myself as a Cebuano. ‘Yan ang tatay ko eh (Because my father is one),” the President said.

“Pareho sila ni Tommy, Cebuano (It’s the same with Tommy, they’re both Cebuanos),” Puyat responded.

The mere mention of the mayor’s name, however, triggered the President into launching a fresh round of diatribe against Osmeña.

The mayor first came under fire from Mr. Duterte during a presidential visit in Cebu in Aug. 29, calling the mayor names and making fun of the mayor’s urostomy bag, which Osmeña, a bladder cancer survivor, carried by strapping it along his lower abdominal area.

The President was apparently angered by reports reaching him that the mayor had allegedly accused him of being a drug protector and for supposedly saying that the President should not dip his hands into Cebu City’s affairs and efforts in the war against illegal drugs.

Duterte even threatened to slap the mayor should they came to face to face again, after accusing the mayor of hubris (someone with exaggerated self-pride).

Osmeña, responding to the President’s attacks, denied making any derogatory remark against the President.

The President was also irked by the mayor’s running dispute with the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) leadership.

The dispute came to a head on Aug. 24 when the Parian Police Station reported Osmeña for taking under his custody three suspects who were arrested for selling butane canisters refilled with liquefied petroleum gas in T. Padilla Street.

The mayor earlier denied that he intimidated the policemen on duty and demanded for the detainees’ release. He said the police in Parian expressed no objections when he asked them if he could take the suspects under his custody.

But the Parian police later said they were not able to stop the mayor as they were intimidated by his presence at their station. They instead wrote the incident on their police blotter.

The blotter report, along with the CCTV footage of the mayor’s presence at the police station, became part of the evidences when charges of obstruction of justice, abuse of authority and violation of ethical standards for public officials were filed by the CPPO against Osmeña before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas.

Police assistance

The President also criticized Osmeña for threatening to withdraw the city government’s support for the city police.

“Isa pa ‘yang p***** i**. Kunan mo ‘yung pulis ng patrol car, kunan mo ang pulis ng baril. Anong klase? (He’s one s*************. You withdraw patrol cars and guns from the police. What are you?)” Mr. Duterte said.

However, the President’s statements ran contrary to the warnings made by Osmeña recently against the police.

The mayor was threatening to stop shouldering the maintenance of city-owned vehicles used by the police if the latter would not integrate operatives from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) with the Mobile Patrol Group (MPG).

But the Department of General Services (DGS) said it has not stopped accommodating regular maintenance and repair for the around 90 city-owned vehicles deployed to the CCPO.

However, the mayor has also previously stopped giving financial and fuel allowance, cash reward to the city police. He also blocked the release of 15 new vehicles to the police in 2016 following a series of leadership revamps in Cebu’s police force.

This had prompted the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to strip the mayor of his power over the police, which was restored a few months later.

Margot: President was misinformed

Councilor Margarita ‘Margot’ Osmeña, the mayor’s wife, said the President was just misinformed.

“I think he is just misinformed. I mean, there is even a news report that there’s still the (police) assistance on the cars. And that’s very easy to dispute. I am just so sorry that he is misinformed,” Margot told reporters yesterday.

She said they would do what they could to make sure that President Duterte would not be misinformed again.

“I’m not in the one in direct about that but we will do what we can to make sure that he (President Duterte) has the right information and in fairness, I don’t think that came from the police,” explained Margot.

“Like when there was one time, in a report, that they (police) were complaining that the city hall has not been giving assistance. Chief Garma (CCPO director Senior Supt. Royina Garma) disputed that. So, where is it coming from?” she added.

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