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79th Cebu City Charter Day Celebration: Rama puts cop chief on spot, asks him to remain ‘impartial’

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - February 24, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - As the Cebu City celebrated its 79th Charter Day Anniversary yesterday, Mayor Michael Rama publicly introduced Cebu City Police Office Director Benjamin Santos and asked him to be impartial especially in the upcoming elections.

He called the newly-designated official up the stage and asked him to assure that he would “serve and protect” the city.

“Benjie (Benjamin) you are not from Cebu. My heart, my mind, my umbilical cord is here in Cebu. You will come and go but please leave a remembrance that when you handle the police, don’t think of anyone. Think of SP- Serve and Protect. And make God a witness and humility should be in abundance. Can you give us that assurance?” Rama told Santos.

Santos, who was caught by surprise, answered that he would assure the peace and order of the city.  He added, though, that the community and the government should also help the police force.

“I hope you as a community will help the police to make Cebu City a safe place, to bring back the luster of Cebu City as the Queen City of the South, the tourist capital of the Philippines,” he said, adding that peace and order is everybody’s concern.

He told reporters that they as law enforcers should stay impartial, and this he can assure the mayor.

“Ang police, dapat impartial yan…. We can assure that to the mayor, anytime. Everytime naman the police organization is impartial. So, we are just here to implement the law and make sure that there is a rule of law,” he added.

Rama, on the other hand, later told reporters that he presented Santos to the public since he had not been introduced yet after he assumed office last month, taking over from Senior Superintendent Mariano Batiancela.

“We are talking about crucial moments from now until the elections. And…peace and order should not be ignored. That (being presented onstage) was only an emphasis that he has this whole city and these are the people that he has to serve, protect,” he said.

The mayor said Santos should ensure that the police would be there to protect the public against coercion, intimidation, and oppression and should ensure election laws are enforced.

Rama also said he challenged the police force to go after the drug lords and other criminals in the city.

As to his speech during the celebration, Rama recalled his 60-preventive suspension imposed on him for ordering the demolition of the road median structure in Barangay Labangon.

He also thanked his archenemy, former mayor Tomas Osmeña, for letting him run for the position in 2010, when he was still part of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan Osmeña founded.

Rama bolted the group in 2011 and created his own party.

“Thank you for making me a mayor and I thank him for allowing me to become the mayor. Can we give him a round of applause?” Rama told the hundreds of individuals who gathered outside the City Hall for the celebration.

“They kicked me out and I ended alone at one time,” he added, further saying that he then made history by winning against Osmeña.

During the Mass before the Charter Day ceremony at the Plaza Sugbo grounds fronting City Hall, Monsignor Achilles Dakay reminded that leaders should be there to serve all.

“In the Gospel, Jesus said those who want to be great must be servant to all. Great leaders must serve at all times. If you want to be a servant leader, dapat way pili. Way pinalabi,” he said.

He also thanked the city for helping the Church grow in Cebu City, where Christianity started in the country.

“In 1937, there were only six parishes in the city. San Nicolas, Cathedral, Pardo, Mabolo, Sto. Rosario and Guadalupe. Since then and 79 years later, 25 na kabuok ang parokya. Salamat sa gobyerno nga supportive ug cooperative kaayo. Let us pray that our people may continue to live in peace and unity,” Dakay said.

Members of the Rama clan, City Hall department heads and employees, barangay workers, and representatives of various sectors of the city ten placed flowers at the foot of the brass monument of Don Vicente Rama, considered as Father of the Cebu City Charter, which made the city independent from Cebu province.

Rama’s son Mikel represented their family in giving a response, saying the celebration gave him the opportunity to reflect on “family, history, and heritage.”

“On February 24, 1937, the City of Cebu was inaugurated in front of the pre-war City Hall. And now, Cebu City continues to grow. It is very important despite the rapid growth of the City of Cebu to look back on our rich history,” Mikel said.

“In this celebration, my prayer is for us, all of us the sons and daughters of the City of Cebu, not to focus on the things that tear us apart, but rather to focus on things that bring us together—faith, love, and family,” he added. —(FREEMAN)

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