Osmeña's police escorts moved to Bohol

CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – When Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña returns from the United States on Sunday, August 14, none of his handpicked police escorts will be waiting for him at the airport.

The 3 police officers in Osmeña's security detail have been relieved of their posts, and will start reporting to the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) in Tagbilaran City on Friday, August 12, said Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 7 Director Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño.

He explained that only the PNP chief can authorize the designation of police escorts to local officials. The ones who were assigned to Osmeña, he added, had no green light from the top cop.

Taliño said that if Osmeña wants to request for new police escorts, "he can request through me or the city director and we will endorse it to the chief PNP."

Asked to comment on the recall of his security detail, Osmeña said in a statement to Rappler: "I never made any request for security. They were just assigned to me. Anyway, I can live without security. I don't fear for my life."

The relief of the mayor's police escorts came a day after the National Police Commission (Napolcom) removed Osmeña supervision powers over the city police office.  (READ: Cebu City Mayor stripped of supervision powers over police)

The Napolcom order was prompted by Osmeña's decision to withdraw support for the local police, after the PNP chief replaced Cebu City police chief Senior Superintendent Benjamin Santos and Region 7 police Director Chief Superintendent Patrocinio Comendador without first consulting the mayor.

Osmeña, who had asked for a 30-day extension for both police officers in their former posts, had said that "being denied the chance to choose someone to work with is a violation of the Local Government Code."

Osmeña's relieved police escorts include Senior Police Officer 1 Adonis Dumpit, a well known police officer who was convicted of homicide in connection with the killing of a robbery suspect in 2014. He was granted temporary liberty in May.

Osmeña shouldered the police officer's P250,000 bail, and tapped him to be his security escort when he made a comeback as Cebu mayor.

Dumpit had been accused of being behind vigilante killings in Cebu during Osmeña's previous terms, although Dumpit denies this accusation.

Osmeña told Rappler, "In regards to Dumpit, when he was released, he was in floating status and was receiving death threats so I offered him to live in my house where it would be safer." 

He added: "Adonis [Dumpit] made many enemies during his career as a policeman. I just hope he is assigned somewhere relatively safe. He texted me to apologize that he had to leave for reassignment before I arrived. I told him not to worry, asked him to stay safe, and wished him the best."

Osmeña had been investigated by Human Rights Watch for extrajudicial killings that happened under his watch when he was mayor from 2001 to 2010. He denied being behind the killings but didn't deny "inspiring" them. – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.