Tomas cries police harassment
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - April 21, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and his runningmate, Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, questioned the “harassment” of the police who knocked on the door houses for firearm inspection without search warrants during the Holy Week.

Both Osmeña and de los Santos took to their Facebook pages to express their concerns on the alleged harassment and intimidation done by the police.

For Osmeña, he said a 10-man team conducted a checkpoint outside his house in Barangay Guadalupe last Holy Wednesday.

“I live on a side street in Guadalupe, but instead of securing something the bus terminals, churches, or other high traffic areas, PRO-7 has decided to send 10 police to make a “checkpoint” right outside my house. The main road is 100m away. When I left earlier, they left. Now, that I’m home, they’re back. Earlier today, my wife had to ask permission to enter our own house,” he said in his post.

The mayor has been presenting to the public through his Facebook page the alleged harassment of the police against his political supporters.

“Sure the police are harassing the barangay captains in the mountains, and are going house to house in Mary Ann’s barangay with no search warrants, and now have setup a checkpoint right outside my house where there is barely any traffic, but these men are just following orders. It is their commanders who are to blame. I was just told that the team leader of this checkpoint is the same commander who led the raid on captain Jojo Quijano’s house without properly serving the warrant,” reads portion of his post.

Osmeña even came to a point of issuing an advisory memorandum appealing to judges to investigate the possible planting of evidence against the supporters and barangay captains allied with Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan.

The mayor said he has reserved reports and kept evidence like videos and photos involving alleged irregularities in the conduct and enforcement of search warrants. That is why he asked the judges to check on these observations before issuing search warrants.

Police Regional Office-7 Brigadier General Debold Sinas already refused to comment on the criticisms hurled by the mayor against the organization.

On the contrary, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, opponent of Osmeña in the mayoral race, welcomed the conduct of random police checkpoints.

“Thank you Cebu City Police Office for the checkpoints near our Mabolo ancestral and Bacayan homes, respectively. Tungod sa inyong presence, we all feel safer. Good job and more power,” reads his Facebook post in his page.

If you’re not doing anything bad, Labella said there’s nothing to fear with the police checkpoints.

In observance of the Holy Week, Labella said he will not respond to attacks and negative posts or comments against him on Facebook.

The two candidates have been exchanging word war against each other since the start of the campaign period last month.

For de los Santos, she said she was told by her neighbors that police are knocking on doors for firearm inspection without presenting search warrants.

“In defense to the people and families, my neighbors in a decent subdivision in Lahug, I had to confront the police and asked for search warrant and who gave the orders to create chaos and fear in my own neighborhood. I share the sentiments of my people, feeling violated,” she said in her Facebook post.

De los Santos said she will find the one who is responsible for giving these orders that reportedly threatened the people in Barangay Lahug.

She described the incident as a “coward tactic strategy of campaigning.”

“Who is behind this blatant violation of privacy, entering homes without a search warrant in my neighborhood? No guns and no police abuse will keep me from shielding my constituents and supporters. Bullets will have to go through me first,” she added.  — MBG (FREEMAN)

TOMAS OSMEñA
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