No hindrance to service
It’s a double whammy for the Cebu City police after Mayor Tomas Osmeña decided not only to cancel the cash reward but to cut off their allowances as well in the wake of the Duterte administration’s order to replace all regional, provincial, city and municipal police chiefs in the country.
The mayor’s decision to end the cash reward is to be expected since it is only a matter of time before he ends it even if the source hasn’t run out yet, a thing which he hasn’t disclosed to the media.
Osmeña’s decision to end the cash reward for police who catch or kill a suspected drug dealer during armed confrontations may also get him a reprieve from Commission on Human Rights (CHR) which disclosed its intention to look into his practice.
The allowances, however, are another story. It may or may not be included in the Local Government Code, but local governments are expected to shoulder their share of helping the police force along with the Congress and the President.
There were public declarations of continued service by the police officials regardless of Osmeña’s decision to cut their allowances. They still have their salaries and allowances from Camp Crame, and Osmeña even gave them the vehicles previously issued to barangay officials loyal to former mayor Michael Rama.
But quietly, they may be mumbling among themselves as to why Mayor Osmeña would cut off their allowances at the time when President Rodrigo Duterte backtracked on his promise to give an across-the-board wage hike to the rank-and-file and police officials.
Osmeña was apparently ticked off by the revamp, but he didn’t exactly say that he was disappointed by President Duterte’s move to recall all police officials, even those he considered to be top performers like former PRO-7 head Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador.
The mayor may reconsider giving the allowances even if reduced in keeping with his public proclamation on austerity measures during his administration, but it’s unfair that the police be the recipient of whatever disillusionment he may have with the way appointments of police officials are being handled by the current PNP leadership.
It’s not like he is alone though he is the most vocal and aggressive when it came to the anti-drug campaign. Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III and Mayors Paz Radaza and Luigi Quisumbing of Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City respectively took the transfer of police chiefs rather well, cognizant of the political reality they find themselves in under the new administration.
We expect the police officials to be largely unaffected by the withdrawal of allowances by Mayor Osmeña, which is as it should be. As a civilian law enforcement agency, the PNP is directly answerable only to their topmost leadership, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the President himself.
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