Councilors hit Osmeña over spat with cops
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - August 17, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Some opposition councilors criticized Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña for engaging in a word war with the police over the spate of killings in the city.


Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr. said Osmeña does not have the “moral ascendancy.” He described the mayor as “double standard” because the latter also inspired killings few years back.

“Siya gyud ang nagsugod aning tanan kay siya'y nag-encourage sa mga police nga mopatay og criminal kay tagaan niya og P50,000. Karon, asa naman siya? Mura’g wala siya'y moral ascendancy nga sige siya’g sulti against killings. In the first place, siya’y gauna-una ana,” he told reporters.

In 2016, Osmeña announced that he will give P50,000 cash assistance  to the police for every criminal killed in the city.

Alcover also recalled there was a report in the International Human Rights Watch that there were 200 killings during the administration of Osmeña in 2005.

“Karon nga mura’g ni boomerang kay lagi kasagaran sa nabiktima iyang mga tao maong nikisi kisi siya. Para nako, dili maayo ba nga ang tibook departamento ang awayon. Naay pipila ka mga bogok diha, not necessarily nga tibuok. He’s the father of the city. He should know how to balance to maintain peace and order sa atong syudad,” Alcover said.

Councilor Joel Garganera, another member of the opposition, agreed with Alcover, saying that Osmeña should not antagonize the police.

“The mayor ba, sauna he was very proud, indiscriminately gipamatay nila ang mga pusher, user. At that time, he was the hunter, but, right now, he behaves like he’s the one being hunted,” Garganera said.

The mayor has been engaged in an apparent word war against police officials because of the series of killings in Cebu.

Osmeña started to question the police after the supposed foiled assassination of his ally, Tejero Barangay Councilman Jessielou Cadungog, last July 30.

During the incident, Cadungog’s driver, William Macaslang, killed one of the supposed gunmen who was later identified as PO3 Eugene Calumba.

 Police Regional Office-7 officials, however, denied that Calumba and police asset Michael Banua were out to ambush Cadungog. PRO-7 director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas in earlier interviews said Calumba and Banua came from a drug surveillance operation in Tejero when they were shot by Macaslang.

A criminal complaint for murder was filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-7 against Cadungog and Macaslang before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.  

Because of the ongoing differences between Osmeña and police officials, the city government announced that it is no longer paying for the maintenance and registration of 90 city-owned vehicles and motorcycles that were issued to the police.

It has been reported that the city issued 40 four-wheeled vehicles to Cebu City Police Office which has an annual maintenance up to P50,000 each vehicle.

There are also 50 motorcycles that the city issued to the police which has an annual maintenance of P10,000 each. The opposition councilors asked the mayor not to stop the city’s support to the police.

Garganera said Osmeña should reinstate the assistance of the city government in the maintenance of police vehicles because they are here to protect and preserve the city.

“And the police have their own mandate which is to protect life, property natong tanan. When you rally people to discredit, withdraw support against the police, somehow you are also rallying for chaos,” Garganera said.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia is set to sponsor a resolution asking the mayor to continue the city government’s full support to the police. Garcia said the Cebuanos will be affected if there will be no more policemen that will respond to any crime incidents in the city.

“Ang akoa is dili nalang ipadayon. Kay kon naglagot ka sa police, dili raman ang police ang maapektohan, kitang mga Sugbuanon ang masakripisyo. Kon walay sakyanan, kinsay moresponde sa alarma? Ayaw ipadayon kay that is very detrimental to the Cebuanos,” he added.

Osmeña, for his part, said he will reconsider his decision if the CCPO will integrate the Special Weapons and Tactics team with the Mobile Patrol Group.

The mayor said SWAT team personnel should be mobilized in the city through the MPG to respond to shooting incidents and other emergencies in the city and not just stay at the office. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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