Friday, November 2, 2018

Duterte eager to file legal charges Cebu City Mayor Tommy over alleged release of detainees



Cebu City Mayor Tomas  Osmeña versus President Rodrigo Duterte. FILE PHOTO. Image combined credit to Eagle News and PhilStar

President Rodrigo Duterte during a speech in a “private dinner” with his allies from PDP – Laban in Cebu last Tuesday evening, commanded Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to file charges  against Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

President's statement

Duterte was anxious in filing legal charges to Osmeña for releasing three persons arrested for selling refilled butane canisters.

“Ang sabi ko kay Secretary Año, ipa-demanda ko siya (What I told Secretary Año, I will file charges against him),” said President Duterte.

“Nasuko gyud ko kay naa nay preso, iyahang gi adto sa station gikasab-an niya ang police, giparelease niya (I was really angry because there are detainees. He went to the station to reprimand the police, and then he released them),” Duterte said.

Osmeña abuse of power

On August 24, 2018, Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña arrived at Parian Police Station in Cebu City and told the police desk officer to release arrested three persons caught selling LPG-filled butane canisters with LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) at the T. Padilla Public Market. 


CHEAP BUT RISKY. Thousands of butane canisters, hundreds of tanks of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and butane refilling equipment. Image credit to Cebu Daily News - Inquirer.net

Osmeña said he would take them into his custody. The desk officer tried to call Parian Police Station Chief Kenneth Paul Albotra, but Osmeña told him he could not wait.

The suspects were released as the police on duty were reportedly intimidated by Osmeña's presence in the station.

Selling of butane canisters containing LPG is prohibited by the Department of Energy and punishable by law.


Cebu City Police Office versus Mayor Tommy Osmeña

The CCPO-Investigation and Detective Management Branch already endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas the complaints of grave abuse of authority, obstruction of justice, misconduct, and violation of the ethical standards for government employees.

Also included in the complaint were evidences such as sworn affidavits of Parian police, Cebu City Police Office Director Senior Supt. Royina Garma, blotters of the incident, as well as copy of CCTV footage inside the station.

According to desk officer on duty, Osmeña raised his voice which is very intimidating, specifically when the police reasoned out that they had to inform their chief of police that the mayor was there and that the mayor wanted the custody of the three suspects.

“The mayor even stood up at the main door of the police station while watching the three suspects freely walked away despite already his knowledge about their arrest while the police officers were telling him about the clearance from the station commander,” Parian police said.

“This is just the message that if we are doing our job, hayaan kami, and anyway trabaho namin iyon. Anyway we are not intervening sa trabaho din ng ibang units. Ang dapat nito is let us just respect each other’s mandate ng kada agency,” Cebu City Police Office Director Senior Supt. Royina Garma said. 


Osmeña's nine-page reply

Osmeña denied these allegations and denied that he ‘sternly warned’ the police in taking the suspects under his custody. 

The mayor had requested Ombudsman to dismiss the charges against him.

“Respondent states that this complaint is liable to be dismissed at the very outset because the allegations do not contain any averments that would constitute the elements the crime of obstruction of justice,” portions of his answer read.

“There was also nothing in respondent’s actions that indicated misconduct or that he was abusing his authority as city mayor. The truth, he was merely responding to a request for assistance by his constituents who reported to him about the illegal arrest of the vendors and the illegal seizure of butane canisters,” it added.

Osmeña, through his lawyer, said none of his actions on August 24, as well as the affidavits of the police officers, are enough to prove he violated the law.

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Source: Cebu Daily News