Duterte’s revulsion towards drugs

President Rodrigo Duterte

Actually it is not only President Rodrigo Duterte who loathes the seemingly endless proliferation of drugs in the country.

The over 6 million people that made a big difference in his winning the presidency and the many more that supported also abhors the extent that illegal drug is being distributed and/or used in this country.

What is even more alarming and disturbing are the involvement of some generals, police other government officials in the illegal drug trades as he has pointed out.

Some eyebrows may have been raised when Duterte asked for another year to combat the drug menace in the country, this, after failing to keep up with his promise to eliminate it in six months after getting elected, and again being unable to contain it after an extension of another six months.

But is this a measure of an unsuccessful campaign on Duterte’s war against drugs?

For many who have seen the repercussions of drug use and the intelligence reports Duterte has been getting about the illegal drug trade in the country, I think the consensus is that the president is right is his assessment of the magnitude of the drug problem in this country and is the reason why he signed a memorandum allowing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to participate anew in the government’s drug war.

So it cannot be said, therefore, that Duterte has failed in his war on drugs, but the fact is that a continuity of the relentless campaign is needed involving a greater number of anti-illegal drugs personnel to prevent the resurgence of the menace.

Duterte was right in listening to the clamor of the public that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) shall take over from the PNP the anti-illegal drugs operation because of the extrajudicial killings brouhaha, but the agency’s inferior number simply rendered them inadequate to be at the critical place in the most opportune time.

What was happening though is that while there may not have been any killing, the proportion of crime committed and illegal drug trade increased.

Thus, Duterte has ordered the PNP to return to the government’s war on illegal drugs but in a supporting role, with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) keeping the lead overall in the campaign.

Not only that. Other law enforcement agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Postal Corporation were also directed to provide support to the PDEA in the conduct of the anti-narcotics campaign.

In a statement, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said:“The President recognizes the significant strides PDEA has made in the government’s anti-illegal campaign but it has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents and operatives who can penetrate drug-infected areas down to the municipal and barangay levels.”

Indeed, this is a welcome development that will surely make an impact in Duterte’s one year appeal to stamp out the drug menace in the country.



PNP chief’s moral ascendancy questioned


PNP Director General Ronald "Bato" de la Rosa

PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa

I do not understand why House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is now questioning Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa’s moral ascendancy to head the country’s police force after a Korean businessman was kidnapped and murdered inside Camp Crame.

“Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa should immediately resign as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to save President Rodrigo Duterte from further embarrassment and restore respect to the Office of the PNP Chief,” Alvarez said in a statement.

Yes, it is bad enough that the Korean businessman, Jee Ick Joo, was kidnapped and murdered by policemen, but what made it more damning is that the hapless victim was executed not far from the White House of the PNP chief inside Crame.

But does Alvarez think that by making Bato resign and replacing with another general will immediately solve the government’s bloody war against illegal drug and put in jail all the police scalawags involved in the now newly coined nefarious activity called “tokhang for ransom”?

There is no doubt that Bato has been committing minor indiscretions as if he was a showbiz personality, granting unnecessary interviews left and right, and, like what Alvarez described, “ doing mundane things like singing videoke and watching concerts”, but are these enough reasons to ask for Bato’s head on the chopping board?

In fact Bato finds the call for him to quit his post as “cruel,” saying he can’t even find time to sleep as he’s too busy solving the country’s drug problem and weeding out bad eggs in the police force.

I think President Duterte could not have found a better man to lead the country’s police force who is competent and tough enough to toe the line in accordance with what Duterte wants in his declaration of war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.

Despite Bato’s minor screw-ups he has been ably doing his job and continues to have the respect of his men. Bato has just to change his ways now and not allow his popularity to go to his head.

But what people should realize, and I think Alvarez knows this, is that the extent and magnitude of illegal drugs, criminality and corruption in the country involving unscrupulous members of the PNP is so mind boggling that one can’t help but entertain thoughts about where this country could have gone if Duterte was not elected president.

It is not about Bato’s ineptitude. It is more about our collective moral obligation as people to help him instead of criticizing him.

Isn’t this the very reason why the exasperated Duterte talks about declaring martial law if and when he deems it necessary, come hell or high water?

Higher expectations awaits PNP’s dela Rosa


Incoming PNP chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa

Incoming PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa

The Filipino people after overwhelmingly giving Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte the vote of confidence to be the next president of the country certainly have high expectations of him.

I think Duterte has not let the people down because his words and deeds speak for itself, from the promise he made to fight corruption, criminality and illegal drugs to the individuals he chose to compose his Cabinet who are mostly his classmates, trusted friends and acquaintances who believe in his leadership.

Like Duterte all seem to agree and are, likewise, determined to stop corruption in their respective departments so they could help the nation grow and develop faster and make a difference in the lives of its citizens, especially the poor.

Incredibly, some of Duterte’s appointees in the Cabinet do not only agree with him, but they even sound like him now when emphatically talking about stopping corruption in their departments.

But nobody really comes so close in comparison to Duterte than Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who the incoming president has hand-picked to lead the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Both Duterte and dela Rosa have not assumed office yet, but the public are already aware that the fight against illegal drugs and criminality has started already. Not only are drug pushers and users dying, but many are giving and reporting to authorities scared that their death would just add up to the statistics.

Dela Rosa who has served as Davao City police chief from Jan.30, 2012 to Oct. 18, 2013 has been echoing Duterte’s call to all involve in illegal drugs, including rogue policemen and local government officials, to stop their criminal practices or else ….

No doubt higher expectations awaits dela Rosa upon his assumption as PNP chief for he himself has vowed to end the illegal drugs problems and other crimes by three to six months.

From the looks of it dela Rosa appears to be on top of the situation as he has been talking about a top to bottom revamp in the PNP organization. This could only mean how corrupted, perverted and inept the organization has become that illegal drugs and criminality has turned into a national scourge.

Dela Rosa also vowed to implement a massive reshuffle to purge scalawag members from the 160,000-strong police force.

“All policemen from top to bottom must work. We will not allow policemen who will just stay in the offices. They will be deployed outside,” said dela Rosa.

Indeed this will be an interesting times to see a challenged PNP under de la Rosa.

Purisima’s unscrupulousness


Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos

I am not a supporter, much less an admirer, of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., but this time I can’t help but praise him for his single voice and resolute stand against four-star General Alan Purisima’s continuing stay in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

I find it strange that while many politicians have criticized Purisima’s participation in the botched Oplan Exodus, a police operation against a Malaysian terrorist and a Filipino bomb maker, where 44 Special Action Force (SAF) were brutally killed by Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25, even as he was under preventive suspension, only Marcos showed the courage to confront the Aquino administration for keeping Purisima still in the service.

The more Marcos got piqued when Malacañang, through its spokesman Edwin Lacierda, issued a statement to leave Purisima alone, after the senator delivered a privilege speech questioning Purisima’s decision to remain in the police force. Lacierda reasoned out that Purisima has resigned as PNP chief anyway.

But what is a four-star general doing in the PNP if he has no clear-cut job for him to do anymore?

It is not a question of whether or not he has resigned as head of the PNP, but it is now more a question of whether or not he has still an iota of scruples left in him.

Gen. Alan Purisima

Gen. Alan Purisima

It is bad enough to be blamed for the brutal death of the SAF troopers, but what moral authority does Purisima have and what leadership example can he show now after serving a six-month preventive suspension meted to him by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with a plunder and graft case over the questionable gun license delivery deal with a private courier firm?

Having reached the pinnacle of his career already, Purisima should have opted to resign.

Purisima’s unscrupulousness is definitely leaving a bad taste in everybody’s mouth, except perhaps for President Benigno Aquino (PNoy), who continues to trust him and who believes Purisima can’t do no wrong.

Certainly, Purisima’s unscrupulousness of staying in the police force continues to torment the PNP organization which until now does not have a sitting and functioning PNP Chief.

Under PNoy’s watch, firing Purisima from the service is next to impossible. Woe to those in the PNP hierarchy.

Filipinos have lost trust in Purisima

PNP Director General Alan Purisima with his police officials at the Senate investigation.

PNP Director General Alan Purisima with his police officials at the Senate investigation.

For those who watched on national TV the inadequacy of the answers given by Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, when grilled by Senators Grace Poe and Serge Osmeña over corruption and ill-gotten wealth charges, among other things, filed against him, I cannot blame, if like me, they will also surmise that, indeed, much, much more remains to be desired of his answers to convince the Filipinos that he is clean, honest and deserving of his position.

I admire Purisima’s guts for bringing along his ranking police officials to the senate, perhaps, as a show of solidarity for their beleaguered chief, but sad to say that they, too, I presume were unimpressed of his explanations.

While the Senate investigation centered on the controversial P25-million “white house” or the PNP chief’s official residence in Camp Crame, which does not appear to have been built by government funds, but allegedly from donations coming from concerned individuals and groups with ‘social responsibility’, whatever that means, still more and more irregularities are being unearthed against Purisima in his conduct as PNP head.

It looks like Purisima is claiming that what he owns now, from real state to expensive cars, are given to him pro bono or the least, at a huge discount.

It is bad enough that some policemen are involved in abominable crimes committed in the country, but what could be more worse than when the head of the organization himself is facing charges in the office of the Ombudsman for cases ranging from plunder, graft, and indirect bribery and administrative offenses of dishonesty, grave misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service?

For the anti-crime watchdog Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) to file criminal charges against Purisima and for the Senate to summon him for an investigation of his alleged wrong doing definitely speaks volume on whether or not he remains the right man for the job.

No matter how much Purisima reasons out that he is a victim of personal attacks involving his integrity and capability by people whom he have displeased or enraged for doing his job, still he has come short in convincing the public that, like Cesar’s wife, he is beyond reproach.

The Filipinos, certainly, believes that Purisima has already lost the moral ascendancy to continue leading the PNP.

The question is: When will President Aquino realize that Purisima is no longer effective?

Turns and twists in the Ramgen murder case

Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla seen here consoling half-sister Ramona

When many thought that the police had bagged the masterminds in the gruesome Ramgen “Ram” Revilla murder and the near fatal wounding of his girlfriend, Janelle Manahan, a turn of event is making a different twist of a case which the police had deemed closed and solved.

When many thought that Ramona, also known as Mara, was in the custody of her half-brother, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, it was thought that it would make it easier for the case to be resolve and put an end to further speculations.

Apparently, it wasn’t meant to be that way, for Bong says that Mara was never in her custody, although we have seen on TV footage of the senator embracing and consoling his seemingly distraught half-sister, and that he was surprised to learn that the alleged co-conspirator in the murder case has hastily fled the country already.

This turn of event did not sit well for Bong, in particular, and the public, in general, for justice has still to be sought in the death of a beloved member of the Revilla clan, Ramgen, whom Bong has considered his own son, having grown together with his own biological older sons.

Bong has been so outraged at Mara’s sudden departure that he considered her flight as “a sign of guilt,” prompting him once more to reiterate call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to uncover the “truth, regardless of who gets hurt.”

The senator even appealed to the Department of Foreign Affairs “to exert legal and diplomatic efforts to bring Ramona back to the country and face our justice system.”

But all is not in accord with Bong, however.

Genelyn Magsaysay grieving

Genelyn Magsaysay, the mother of Mara, whom Bong asked to cooperate with the authorities and who have asked her to have her daughter return to the county, is so aghast at Bong’s pronouncements, which she considers short of accusing her children as killers, that she has lambasted the senator as making early political posturing for the next elections already, even as her son, RJ, is being incarcerated.

This internal animosity in the Revilla clan does not bode well for the early resolution of the murder case.

What is making this sensational case even more agonizing and tormenting is the fact that before Mara boarded a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong on her way to Turkey (Mara is said to be married to a Turkish national), she recanted her earlier statement, saying she was not abducted by her brother’s killers and dropped near a mall in Las Piñas City and that she made up the story saying she could not identify the suspects because they were wearing Halloween-type masks.

Mara has also contradicted the earlier statement of Ramgen’s girlfriend, Janelle, who, while recovering from her injuries, said that she pleaded for her to get help, but that she just left and never came back.

On the contrary, Mara asserts that she tried to revive Ram after the attack and asked Janelle for her brother’s car keys so she could drive them to the hospital, but the two did not respond.

One would just wonder how she could be able to carry, both the dead and wounded, to the car without any help at that very instance? Or did she call for help?

What is even confounding the whole picture now is that Mara has debunked the damning claim of Ronaldo Ancajas, her late brother’s production assistant, that he saw her and RJ leaving the family residence on foot, one after the other on the night of the murder.

This claim of Ancajas was corroborated by the security guard. If Mara was distraught as she admitted she was,  having seen the brutal and fatal shooting and stabbing, and having even shouted, “tama na” (“that’s emough”), wouldn’t she be emotional, hysterical and shouting  for help?

What Mara is declaring instead is that Ancajas, who has been considered a witness in the case, is now a participant in the murder case.

One would just wonder if Mara realizes that while she is pointing an accusing finger at someone, that the three other fingers are pointing, menacingly, right back at her? Isn’t she just sinking in her own fabricated tales?

One would just wonder if Genelyn realizes that while she has all the right to protect her children, that she is also more morally obligated to find justice for her dead son.

There is so much at stake for Bong in this case, not only in protecting his name and as a senator of the realm, but also in making sure that justice is meet. He owes it to the people.

This is one story that may never be made into a movie, but its turns and twists and the confusion it is creating everyday is making everybody glued to their seat and anxious for what is to come next in the morning and evening news.

PNP’s overly tarnished image


DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo on PNP's "ghost pensioners" scam

Whoever replaces Director General Raul Bacalzo at the helm of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has a tall order to follow. He either has to turn the organization – tasked to maintain public safety, protect lives and property, enforce laws and maintain peace and order throughout the country – 360 degrees, or forever it will lose the belief, trust and confidence of the citizenry it is bound to serve.

It is bad enough that, not too long ago, the PNP was involved in a bidding anomaly such that it approved the purchase of three helicopters – two of which were said to be secondhand passed off as brand-new worth P104.9 million during the Arroyo administration.

Only very recently also Bacalzo ordered an investigation into the alleged irregular P409.74 million contract given to suppliers in 2007 to repair and refurbish 28 police tanks otherwise known as V-150 Light Armored Vehicles or LAVs. It was found that the suppliers were paid seven months before the job was done. This scheme has been referred to as “ghost repairs.”

Now, the PNP is again in the spotlight being scrutinized after it has been uncovered doing a nefarious act of gargantuan scale, which is that of disbursing hundreds of millions of pesos as pension benefits for servicemen who no longer exist.

According to Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, the government spent about P1 billion in monthly pension for “ghost pensioners” in the Philippine National Police for the last five years.

“About P250 million a year was being spent since 2006 for about 2000 non-existent beneficiaries of the PNP’s Retirement and Benefits Administration Service,” Robredo was quoted as saying.

“These are not retired policemen. In fact, many are not even police officers. They’re just fake names. They’re not even names of dead police officers—which comprise 75 percent of the pensioners,” Robredo further said.

A former policeman, identified as Marlon Reyes, has been linked to the large-scale fund scam and an investigation was still being conducted to find out who were with him in the “syndicate,” Robredo said.

PNP’s image is so tarnished with all these scams that more than denouncing their wicked deeds, a thorough investigation and shake down has to be implemented and those found involved be prosecuted to the hilt.

As of now the PNP is a disgrace to the nation.