Sinas recalls policemen stationed at checkpoint outside Osmeña’s house
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas said he recalled the 10 policemen, who were stationed in a checkpoint outside Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s house on Maundy Thursday, after they received sandwiches from Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña, the mayor’s wife.
Sinas, in a press conference on Monday, April 21, said that as a non-partisan organization, the police must maintain a degree of neutrality at all times and the 10 policemen should not have received the sandwiches on a normal circumstance.
He said the policemen, who were recalled, were simply asked why they received the sandwiches and were reminded not to accept any goods from running candidates and other politicians during the election period to avoid any issues of partiality.
“Nahitabo naman to, okay na lang to sa amoa. (It already happened, it’s okay with us),” said Sinas.
Sinas encouraged the members of the police force to avoid accepting anything from running candidates during the election period to avoid similar incidents.
Councilor Margot posted on her Facebook page that she could not control the reaction of Sinas regarding the policemen accepting the sandwiches.
“I did what I had to do. Why will he punish the officers outside our house just for accepting a little food on Holy Thursday?” said Margot on her post dated April 21.
Meanwhile, Sinas said the checkpoint outside the mayor’s house was approved by Commission on Elections (Comelec) and was long scheduled by the Cebu City Mobile Force Company (CMFC).
“Ako sila (CMFC) gipangutana what happened. It so happened nga sa kadugay na nahitabo, adto ra nag checkpoint sa ilang (Osmeña) lugar. Excused diay sila? Namatikdan sa mapa nga wala man nagcheckpoint pa didto,” said Sinas.
(I asked the CMFC what happened. It so happened that it has long been planned, but it was only then that a checkpoint was conducted near the mayor’s house. Are they excused? It was only noticed in the map that a checkpoint has not been conducted there yet.)
Sinas said that the perception of the mayor is different from normal people, who would have been happy that a checkpoint was being conducted near their residences for security.
As to Osmeña’s claim that the police was being used for political reasons, Sinas said they were only doing their job and would remain independent from any incumbent or running politician.
“I don’t think so that the police are used for political reasons. He (Osmeña) was used to controlling the police, and, now, that the police are remaining neutral, his attitude changed,” said Sinas in Cebuano.
Sinas said that the police would continue to do their duty in keeping the elections safe despite the negative reactions of some running candidates./dbs
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