NO MORE REWARDS
With the unilateral relief of his police chief, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña withdraws his cash incentive for policemen
While local government officials in Cebu were caught by surprise over the relief of their respective police directors, most of them are willing to work with the new appointees, except Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.
“There was not even prior notice on this but anyway that’s the decision that came from up there, so on my part, I will give him (new city police chief) a free hand so I can spend my time on all other matters. He will handle all of the peace and order campaign. Sila na mubuhat (Let them do it)” he said.
Osmeña said since he was never consulted about the relief of former Cebu City Police director Benjamin Santos, he will no longer involve himself in the campaign against illegal drugs and peace and order in the city.
He said that he will leave the matter to the new chiefs of Police Regional Office (PRO-7) and Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
The mayor is also withdrawing his offer of reward to policemen who are able to neutralize suspected drug lords.
“I will stop everything, including the reward. I won’t do anything,” Osmeña said.
The mayor has been giving P50,000 for each suspected drug lord neutralized and has given a total of P625,000.
“And I can announce that out of the 10 most wanted drug suspects, we got 9. With the new police chief, let him find the last one. We only got 9; well, nobody is perfect, you know,” he said. He is not asking the higher police authorities to reconsider Santos’s relief either.
Local government officials in Cebu were surprised over the relief of their respective police directors, saying they were never consulted.
“Before, any changes in the leadership of our police, they would inform us. But this time, it came as a total surprise,” Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III told reporters yesterday.
In Mandaue City, Mayor Luigi Quisumbing, while saying he is open to working with the newly appointed city director, Senior Supt. Roberto Alanas who last served the San Juan Police, said he was aware that mayors were given the authority to choose their police chiefs.
“I am aware in the past that mayors are allowed to choose, but I came from Congress where we do not have input about the city directors,” Quisumbing said.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza chose not to make a big deal of the relief of her police director.
“Wala man hinuon ko’y problema sa mga nahimong police directors dinhi sa Lapu-Lapu for the past several years, pero makasabot ra man ta sa ilang movement karon nga gipaningkamotan sa presidente nga masulbad ang crime ug illegal drugs,” she said.
(I have had no problems with the police directors in the city, but I also understand their movements now because this is the President’s efforts to solve crime and illegal drugs.)
Section 51 (a) of Republic Act 6975 or the Department of Interior and Local Government Act states that the Provincial Governor “shall choose the provincial director from a list of three eligible recommended by the PNP regional director.”
Paragraph (b) of the same section lists the powers of city and municipal mayors over the police and lists other powers such as the “Authority to choose the chief of police from a list of five eligibles recommended by the provincial police director, preferably from the same province, city or municipality.”
The power of operational supervision and control, however, can be suspended by the President on the grounds of “Frequent unauthorized absences, Abuse of authority, providing material support to criminal elements or engaging in acts inimical to national security or which negate the effectiveness of the peace and order campaign,” reads Section 52 of the DILG Code.
Despite being surprised by the reshuffling, Davide said this was bound to happen.
“I can understand because we have a new administration and President Duterte also has his thrusts and campaign against illegal drugs. This is bound to happen. We expected the reshuffling,” the governor said.
He also agreed with the pronouncements of the Duterte administration to strip local chief executives of their power to choose their police chiefs from a list provided by the PNP. He said this will prevent politicizing the positions in the police force.
As Osmeña declared that he would no longer involve himself in the campaign against illegal drugs and criminality, he said, “Naa man diha sa kamot sa kinsay mo-take over. Dili ako. Kay mao nila ang hukom mo-take over sila so murag I’m also relieved, no? Dili lang ang chief, apil sad ako. Haha. Sige kamo nalang buot ana (It is in the hands of whoever will take over, not me. Because this is their decision that they will take over. It’s like I am also relieved. Not only the chief but me as well),” he said.
But the mayor is still hopeful that the new police chief will do a good job considering that in just two months, those who were relieved were able to neutralize suspected big time drug lords like Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz and Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria.
“Hinaot pa they will do a good job. Give credit where credit is due. But if things turn sour, don’t blame me,” he said. “I’m glad that I don’t have to do this anymore. I want to thank the people for giving me the trust and confidence but apparently somebody up there has no trust and confidence of our own commander so sila nay magbuot (It’s their decision),” he added.
Meanwhile, whether there is a reward or not, police officers should do their jobs well, said Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, Police Regional Director, upon learning that Osmeña has withdrawn his reward offer.
“I can’t comment particularly on his statement. But in general, we will continue our mission in accomplishing our task because with or without rewards, we will continue our fight against all forms of criminality especially illegal drugs,” Taliño said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
Osmeña has given out a total of P625,000 since mid-May or barely a week after he won the city mayoral race for slain or arrested crime suspects.
Since that time, he had given reward money for 12 slain suspected drug dealers who operated in the city.
On May 17, he awarded P20,000 to PO3 Julius Regis for arresting two alleged robbers who victimized passengers of a public utility jeepney.
Two days later on May 19, he gave P50,000 to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Force for killing a drug pusher in a shootout in Barangay Sudlon 2; P155,000 to Senior Insp. Henrix Bancoleta of the Central Visayas Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, who led the operation that resulted to the death of Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria, the third most wanted drug personality in Central Visayas, and his two cohorts, John Jason Montes and Dario Torremocha, on Banacon Island in Getafe, Bohol last May 28.
The mayor also gave P100,000 to the police officers who killed Cebu’s top drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz and his bodyguard in Las Piñas City on June 17; P50,000 for the death of the alleged gunman in the ambush-slay of anti-drug crusader Crisostomo Maternal Jr.; and P200,000 given out for the killing of four suspected drug peddlers in Barangays Mambaling, Lahug and Bacayan.
He gave another P50,000 for the death of a suspected drug pusher in Talamban last week.
Osmeña said he is worried whether or not the new chiefs will be able to sustain the momentum of the city on the campaign against illegal drugs. He said he is very proud of what the police department has been able to accomplish in the past months.
On the reports that the relieved officers are associated with retired general Marcelo Garbo, the reason why they were relieved, the mayor said, “ I really heard that all over the place. Now I don’t know what’s the big thing about Garbo is, because Garbo is gone. But very clearly these officers did not protect drug lords. Look at the way they were cracking down on them. There’s nobody left.”
Osmeña said that during the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III, the people who were associated with Garbo were the same people who could not get along with former PNP director General Alan Purisima. “And those who are anti-Purisima are headed by generals like Garbo. Now guilt by association is possible explanation. I put these people there. I recommended them myself. I felt they could do a good job in anti-drugs,” he said.
“And I challenge anyone to match that record. Anywhere in the Philippines. Akong gi-challenge,” he said. “(In) 30 days (they neutralized drug personalities). Does that look like a group that is protecting drugs? If these policemen are the kind of people protecting drugs, how come everybody is surrendering? Not only surrendering here (but) every where. But I think Cebu City started it. I’m just asking the Cebuanos to be grateful that we have policemen who did their jobs well. Sila na lang magbuot. Bahala na,” he added. /with Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Ador Vincent Mayol, Norman V. Mendoza and Julit C. Jainar
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