Osmeña to DILG: Sue me!
The national government could slap him with an administrative charge for “neglect of duty” for his vehement refusal to support the Philippine National Police (PNP) now, but that would be the least of his concerns. In fact, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña couldn’t care less.
Still reeling from the shock of a sudden police revamp in his city without consulting him, Osmeña challenged the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to sue him and even fire him for no longer wanting to have anything to do with police matters in the city.
“Go ahead, sue me. I’ll be answering that (the charge). Go ahead. Ako gi-challenge ang (I’m challenging) DILG, relieve me,” Osmeña told reporters in a press conference at City Hall.
Just last week, Osmeña withdrew support to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and the newly appointed police officers, in effect washing his hands of involvement in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality in the city, after Camp Crame relieved Regional Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador and CCPO Director Benjamin Santos from their posts, and reshuffled local police units.
The sudden relief of the two officers who partnered with Osmeña in his war against illegal drugs and criminality caused the mayor to be “weary” in the fight, saying that he no longer had the “energy to sustain” it.
But DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno had warned that mayors and other local officials who fail to curb the problem of illegal drugs in their areas within six months till December would lose their power and control over the police and even face charges for serious neglect of duty.
“They (DILG) said we will cut off your police power if you will not support the (anti-)drug movement. Ako nauna pa man gani ko. (I was even the first to do that) Haha. And I thought I was the most active, but see what happened,” Osmeña said.
“It’s the same thing. I lost the power to police, and that’s it. Ila nalang na tanan (Let them have it all), he added.
Under the law, local chief executives are empowered to maintain peace and order in their respective areas through control of the police.
Aside from quitting being part of police operations in the city, Osmeña also cut allowances for the new chief of CCPO and newly assigned policemen.
He also announced that he was no longer inclined to release the 15 patrol cars and three vans earlier requested by relieved City Director Benjamin Santos.
“I’m not thinking about it. I’m not thinking anything about the police. So don’t ask me a question about the police,” an unrelenting Osmeña said in a press conference yesterday.
DILG-7 Regional Director Rene Burdeos refused to comment on Osmeña’s continued refusal to have anything to do with the police.
“I have no comment for now. I have not seen any of the mayor’s directives,” Burdeos told Cebu Daily News in Cebuano.
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