Rama insists it’s security, not politics in meeting
Peace and order, not politics, was the order of business in last night’s conference between Cebu City police officials and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama at the Rama compound in Barangay Basak San Nicolas.
Rama insisted that the conference involved “purely matters about peace and order” and not the elections. Last Tuesday, the mayor voiced concern over the reshuffling of police officials less than two weeks before the elections.
“Just bringing on the word[s] ‘serve and protect,’ because as a mayor, even if I’m campaigning, it does not mean I forget about my responsibility under the Local Government Code on the operation, supervision, and control,” he told reporters in a press conference yesterday.
Among the issues he wanted to discuss with the officials included the preparations for the May 9 elections.
Rama said there will be another command conference, but he declined to say when.
Rama said the reshuffling of police precinct chiefs could favor his rival, former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña.
The former mayor and congressman denied plans of using the police during the elections.
Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, Police Regional Office chief, said he won’t stop city police officials from meeting with Mayor Rama.
“It would have been okay if the meeting is done inside a government facility (not in his house),” he said.
Supt. Artemio Ricabo, deputy director for administration of the Cebu City Police Office, said there is a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution exempting the police from the ban on transfer of personnel during the election season.
Quoting Comelec Resolution 10030, Ricabo said the “authority of the offices shall be honored as long as it is essential to proper functioning, and shall not in any manner influence the conduct of elections and shall not involve commotion or giving any increase of salary, renumeration of privilege.”
These government offices listed in the resolution include the Office of the President, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, lower courts, Presidential Electoral Tribunal, PNP and the Armed Forces.
Comendador also supported Cebu City police chief Senior Supt. Benjamin Santos Jr. in the reshuffling of nine police precinct chiefs days before the elections.
“My management style is I don’t interfere with the decisions of my lower units because I believe that they have the leadership capabilities to decide. As I see it, we did not violate any regulation,” Comendador told reporters.
Santos earlier told Cebu Daily News that the April 22 revamp is intended to remove any impression of bias or familiarity toward politicians or groups in their area.
Comendador said the police units are now directly reporting to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) since the campaign period started.
Regional Comelec Director Jose Nick Mendros said the mayor can call for a command conference with the police.
When told that the conference was held at the mayor’s compound, Mendros said maybe the police should be asked about it.
Rama said he usually called for command conference with the police prior to big events in the city like Sinulog./with Siliman University Intern Jameela Antoniette I. Mendoza
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