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Garma stays as Cebu City police chief: Albayalde

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Col. Royena Garma will stay as Cebu City’s top cop amid tensions between the local police and the city government, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said there was no recommendation from the regional director of PRO 7 to replace Garma.

Albayalde maintained the PNP was apolitical and non-partisan.

“I’m always in close coordination with the regional director (RD) there. They have no problems and the PNP leadership has no problem about this matter. Maybe it’s the mayor who has a problem,” he told reporters when sought for a comment.

Albayalde, meanwhile, urged Mayor Tomas Osmeña to coordinate with his office or with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regarding the matter.

“With regards to the meddling (on political affairs), we have not received any reports from the RD,” he added.

Albayalde said they always verify allegations against any police official, noting that they did not receive any complaints against Garma.

He said Garma was not the personal choice of Osmeña for the said post.

Osmeña was stripped of police powers following his order for the city government to withdraw its support to the local police.

“There are times when they do not like the sitting police chief. There goes the accusations. Let’s just be fair,” Albayalde explained.

Osmeña earlier accused Garma of receiving weekly payola from operators of illegal gambling called “suertres”. In another radio interview, he said if the people want evidence about his accusation, “just read the Facebook”.

Garma, for her part, asked the local chief executive to stop hurling baseless accusations against her and the city police force, and instead, focus on his projects for the city.

“Hindi ako ang kalaban niya (I am not his opponent),” she remarked.

Garma dismissed the allegation that she is receiving payola from illegal gambling operators as an “old story”.

“I survived the issue even before when I was still in the CIDG-7 (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Central Visayas),” she added. (PNA)