By AARON B. RECUENCO
April 2, 2010, 6:13pm
If the Roman Catholic Church has Seven Deadly Sins to do away with, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has nine for this year’s national and local elections.
Director General Jesus Verzosa, PNP chief, said copies of the nine prohibited acts for all policemen to follow will be distributed in English and Filipino languages to all police units across the country starting next week.
Verzosa said prohibited acts include:
1. Forming organizations, associations, clubs or groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign for or against a candidate;
2. Holding of caucuses, conferences, meeting or rally for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate;
3. Making speeches, announcements, or commentaries for or against the election of any candidate for public office;
4. Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate;
5. Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges, or support for or against a candidate;
6. Being a delegate to any political convention or member of any political committee or any officer of any political club, or other similar political organizations;
7. Making speeches or publications to draw political support in behalf of a particular party or candidate;
8. Directly or indirectly soliciting or receiving contribution for political purposes, and;
9. Becoming publicly identified with the success or failure of any candidate.
Verzosa said the nine prohibited acts all boils down to the simple rule that the policemen should never engage in partisan politics for the sake of maintaining integrity of the PNP organization.
“As public servants, PNP personnel are mandated to remain neutral in the conduct of national and local elections and concentrate instead on keeping peace in the polls,” said Verzosa.
Verzosa said these prohibited acts constitute “electioneering,” adding that it violates the provision stipulated in the Civil Service Commission Circular which states that: “No officer or employee in the civil service including members of the Armed Forces, shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity except to vote nor shall he use his official authority or influence to coerce the political activity or any other person or body.”
Verzosa said the Nine Prohibited Acts will come along with the 10 Policy Guidelines which he issued for all policemen to observe in the forthcoming May 10 national elections.
The Ten Policy Guidelines of the Chief PNP are:
1. Fear God, Love your country and the sanctity of the ballot;
2. Focus only on your solemn oath to serve and protect the people;
3. Honor your badge and use your authority to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful elections;
4. Remember that election day is sacred. You and your fellowmen have a sacred duty to exercise your right to vote;
5. Honor and follow only the PNP established chain of command;
6. Respect human rights, protect the environment and enforce all laws without fear or favor;
7. Love your job as an act of faithfulness to your family;
8. Respect and protect the sanctity of your vote and the vote of others;
9. Ensure the truthfulness and integrity of all your reports. Do not spread rumors and falsehood, and;
10. Be content and support whoever gets the mandate of the people.
Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina, PNP spokesman, said the 10 Policy Guidelines and the Nine Prohibited Acts will be echoed down the line in the scheduled meeting of the PNP Command Group with all Chief of Police in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“This is timely because of the nationwide observance of the Holy Week. It will define the proper conduct and decorum of all police officers during the election period in addition to the guidelines set forth in the PNP-AFP Joint Letter Directive 01-2010,” said Espina.
MANILA, Philippines — The United Opposition (UNO) slammed the police’s handling of the case involving broadcaster Ted Failon, saying they acted like “hooligans” in effecting their arrests.
“The professional conduct of the police is deplorable. Even the presence of media did not deter them from acting like hooligans instead of law enforcers,” said UNO president Jejomar Binay in a statement.
Binay said the PNP disregarded its own rule of not presenting suspects to the media when it “publicly humiliated and paraded” the helpers and relatives of Failon like they were convicted criminals.
He said that under the law, a person was always presumed innocent until proven otherwise but the law enforcers reportedly failed to observe this — thus violating the rights of those arrested.
“During martial law, the police would use obstruction of justice to justify the arrest of oppositionists and activists. It seems that the practice continues and is being invoked against ordinary citizens,” said Binay.
Manhandling people, as what the officers did when they forced Failon’s kin and staff into the patrol cars, seemed to have become “standard operating procedure,” he added.
AFTER watching the way the police have been handling the investigation of the death of Trinidad Arteche Etong, ABS-CBN news anchor Ted Failon’s wife, Filipinos have reason to be afraid — very afraid — of their so-called protectors.
From the time the Quezon City police began working on the case, it was clear they wanted to pin down Failon in a murder charge.
With little to go on but a fertile imagination, Superintendent Frank Mabanag, chief of the Quezon City Police District’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, theorized that Etong could have been killed in their Pajero and brought up to the bathroom where Failon claimed to have found her lying in a pool of blood.
Right in his own house, Failon was made to undergo a paraffin test as police investigators gleefully posed behind him for souvenir photos.
Even as Etong was undergoing emergency treatment for a bullet wound to her head, the police “invited” Failon to submit to an investigation that would drag through the night up to the early hours of morning.
Eight hours later, the investigators finally let him go.
But soon after that, Mabanag announced that a “manhunt” had been launched for the broadcaster who, it turned out, had just gone back to the hospital to be with his wife.
When the paraffin test yielded a negative result, a gentler and more humane police force would have taken it as a cue to ease up a bit and give Failon, his kin and his household some space to rest and maybe try to come to terms with the tragedy.
But no, the frustrating outcome seemed only to have roused the Quezon City police to intensify their persecution of everyone closely or remotely involved in the case.
In a series of operations, policemen arrested first, Failon’s two maids, his driver and a utility man, and later, two of his in-laws.
Especially brutal was the arrest of Failon’s sister-in-law, Pamela Trinchera, who was dragged protesting and screaming out of the hospital where her sister was being treated.
The police recommended that all, except Failon’s brother-in-law, be charged with obstruction of justice, an offense the police were hard put to define.
The four house help stand accused of tampering with evidence because they cleaned up the bathroom where Etong was reportedly found and the car in which Etong was brought to the hospital.
All claimed they did it on their own (to spare Failon’s younger daughter the trauma of seeing her mother’s blood, according to the maids) and without any intention of hiding a crime.
It seems not to have occurred to the investigators that if indeed Etong died by her own hand — a possibility they say they have not ruled out — then no crime was committed, in which case they will have to explain what kind of evidence was tampered with — evidence of a non-crime, perhaps?
The case against Trinchera (which the prosecutor mercifully dismissed) was even curiouser.
The police wanted her charged for blocking a procedure that the policemen themselves described as inconclusive.
That was what they said when the paraffin test on Failon yielded a negative result.
Why did they insist on doing a test that has been discredited (according to one forensic expert) on a woman who was fighting for her life?
It is not for us to say whether Etong’s death was suicide or murder.
What we can say is that what the Quezon City police have done is an overkill.
Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales, the National Capital Region police chief, says the investigation is being conducted carefully and by the book.
But as crime investigations go, this one has been going at lightning speed for a police force that remains clueless about assassinations of two Cabinet undersecretaries, not to mention the murders of scores of journalists and activists.
It is clear that the investigators are rushing to implicate anyone and everyone on anything, and especially Failon if they can.
And the reason is obvious: Failon has been a thorn in the side of the Quezon City police, with his biting radio commentaries on the rubout of suspected car thieves on EDSA a couple of months ago and the recent upsurge of carjacking cases in the city.
This is sweet revenge for some city police officers, and they don’t care who gets hurt.
Neither do they care if the whole nation watches as they wage their vendetta in the glare of television cameras.
Their message to the media and the public is unmistakable: Don’t mess with us or else…
Perhaps it is time Filipinos began to ask whether they should continue to support with their taxes an organization that is going berserk.
Continuing to do so is beginning to look like suicide.
By Cecille Suerte Felipe Updated March 12, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Almost half of police officers nationwide have no hand guns.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has not yet provided hand guns to 51,242 out of the 125,000 police officers nationwide.
The PNP also admitted that some of the 1,741 police station buildings nationwide are in a state of disrepair.
PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa said these are among the challenges being addressed by the PNP through the Integrated Transformation Program (ITP).
The concerns on firearms, police station buildings and mobility assets were discussed during the PNP-hosted multi-sectoral forum on police transformation held at the PNP Multi-Purpose Hall in Camp Crame, Quezon City yesterday attended by leaders and representatives from the religious, business, academe, non-governmental organizations, mass media and government sectors.
Verzosa said the forum aims to enlist the participation of the different sectors of society to come up with better solutions to issues and concerns on peace and order and internal security.
Chief Superintendent Lani-O Nerez, Deputy Director for Logistics, said that PNP has 51,757 units of 9mm pistols, 11,891 units of .38 revolvers and 10,110 pieces of .45 pistols, or a total of 73,758 short firearms.
On long firearms, Nerez said that the PNP has at present 4,213 units of 12-gauge shotguns, 48,456 M16 rifles, and 5,445 M-14 rifles or a total of 58,114 long firearms.
“Due to inadequate funds to procure firearms, the PNP prioritized issuance of firearms to PNP units and personnel in high risk areas,” Nerez said.
President Arroyo tapped the PNP in 2006 to adopt Internal Security Operations (ISO) in areas where the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not present. PNP units involved in ISO need long firearms and the PNP has only procured a total of 3,964 units in the past six years.
“The yearly procurement of short firearms of 5,000 units per year is not enough to fill up the shortage,” Nerez reported. “The annual recruitment of an average of 3,000 police personnel needs the corresponding number of short firearms.”
“Only 691 or 40 percent of the 1,741 police station buildings are owned by the PNP, while 1,050 or 60 percent buildings are located on the property of local government units,” said Nerez,adding that “some of the existing PNP-owned police station buildings are deteriorating and in disrepair.”
Nerez pointed out that in some cases the budget for construction or repair of police station buildings come from local government officials, the general appropriations act (GAA) or private organizations.
The PNP also has a shortage of 12,714 vehicles out of the 22,303 units required.
Verzosa said the involvement of the community is a key factor in implementing the 10-year ITP sought by the PNP to make the police organization more capable, effective and credible.
“We are trying to address the dysfunctions in existing systems, procedures and programs, and by promoting within the PNP a culture of excellence, moral values and spirituality among all personnel,” said Verzosa.
By Harvey S. Keh
LAST week, Pampanga Governor Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio again made the headlines and even the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) when he broke the news that the reason why he wants his Police Provincial Director relieved from his position is due to the latter’s refusal to cooperate with him in his fight against illegal gambling particularly jueteng in his province.
What even made the news even more alarming was the fact that there are allegations that it was First Son and Pampanga Congressman Mikey Arroyo who was exerting pressure on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure that the demands of Gov. Panlilio will not be given. If we will recall, in the last 2007 elections, one of Gov. Panlilio’s main opponents was Lilia Pineda who was then a Provincial Board Member and wife of alleged jueteng lord, Bong Pineda.
We all know that despite meager resources and limited amount of time to prepare, Gov. Panlilio through the support of the civil society and church groups was able to win and one of main thrust of his administration was to put an end to jueteng in Pampanga thus, ridding his province of the label, “the Vatican of Jueteng in the Philippines”. Barely a year in office, Gov. Panlilio filed a plunder case against Bong Pineda for his alleged involvement in jueteng operations all over the country.
I was in Pampanga over the weekend and I was listening to a local radio station wherein two radio commentators were saying that instead of focusing on the eradication of jueteng, Gov. Panlilio should just let the issue go and focus his efforts elsewhere.
I was disturbed by those comments since if we recall, wasn’t jueteng one of the major reasons why many of us went to the streets leading to the ouster of President Joseph Estrada? How many families have been destroyed by this prevailing addiction to illegal gambling?
It is a grim reality that many politicians in our country from the local government units up to our national government continue to allow jueteng operations to run since they also benefit from it. The money that is earned by taking advantage of the hopelessness of the poor is then used to buy votes during elections or even influence the results thereby perpetuating themselves in power.
For a country that is run by a few selfish interests while millions continue to live with less than 100 pesos a day, the upcoming 2010 National Elections again present an opportunity for us to elect the right leaders for our country.
Yet, this may only remain an elusive dream if we continue to allow jueteng lords to influence the results of the elections thus, making our political leaders beholden to them. Gov. Panlilio is right in fighting jueteng because by doing so, he is not only fighting one of the causes of poverty in our country but he is also fighting to preserve the integrity of one of the most important rights that we have in a democracy, our right to freely choose effective and ethical leaders for our country.
However, we all have to realize that this fight against jueteng will not be won overnight given that this is also a source of livelihood for many Filipinos. The challenge for Gov. Panlilio is to ensure that he is able to stimulate enough economic activity and employment in his province so that Kapampangans will have opportunities to earn a decent living and they will no longer have to pin their hopes for a better life on this gamble of numbers.
The experience of other countries like Mexico and Colombia wherein money from illegal drugs has been used to elect the highest officials in their respective countries is something that we can all learn from. Drug lords continue to reign in these countries and it won’t be long that jueteng lords will also be our country’s rulers if we don’t do anything about it now. Do we want our country to be known not only as the Sick Man of Asia but also as the Jueteng Republic of Asia? I certainly hope not.
Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government. Comments are welcome at email@example.com
The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has the authority to conduct an inquiry into the Oct. 11, 2008 Moscow airport incident where former Police Director Eliseo D. dela Paz was held for failure to declare some R9.8- million worth of euros found in his luggage and in his possession.
Dela Paz, who retired from the service on Oct. 9, 2008 or two days before his arrest in Moscow where he and several police officers attended an assembly of the International Criminal Police Organization, and his wife, Maria Fe C. dela Paz, challenged the authority of the Senate to inquire into the incident and to stop his arrest by the Senate’s Sergeant-at-Arms on orders of Committee Chairperson Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.
In a unanimous full court resolution written by Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, the SC said the Constitution grants full discretionary authority to the Houses of Congress to formulate, adopt, and promulgate their own rules. The exercise of this power is generally exempt from judicial supervision, except on a clear showing of such arbitrary and improvident use of the power as will constitute denial of due process.
The SC said the challenge to the jurisdiction of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee to inquire into the issue involving the arrest of Dela Paz and the confiscation of the undeclared euros “partakes of the nature of a political question which, under the Constitution, is to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of government.”
The Committee on Foreign Relations has jurisdiction over “all matters relating to the relations of the Philippines with other nations…” and “a reading of the provision unmistakably shows that the investigation of the Moscow incident involving petitioners (spouses Dela Paz) is well within the respondent Committee’s jurisdiction,” the SC said.
It noted that the Senate has decided that the inquiry will be jointly conducted by the Foreign Relations Committee and the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations and the latter committee “may conduct investigations on all matters pertaining to malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government…” and “it is beyond cavil that the Blue Ribbon Committee can investigate Gen. Dela Paz…”
At the same time, the SC said that Senator Santiago’s order for the arrest of Dela Paz was signed by 10 senators with the Senate President approving it. It pointed out that when Dela Paz appeared during the Nov. 15, 2008 Senate investigations, the arrest order became ineffectual.
Dela Paz was released by Moscow authorities but the Russian government confiscated the euros found in his possession.
Two days after Dela Paz’s arrival in Manila, the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee held its first hearing.
Dela Paz challenged the jurisdiction of the committee to investigate. When Dela Paz failed to attend, Senator Santiago ordered his arrest.
Dela Paz and his wife challenged the arrest order and the Senate’s inquiry in a petition filed with the SC. He claimed that the Moscow incident does not involve state to state relations to warrant an investigation.
But the SC said: “The Moscow incident could create ripples in the relations between the Philippines and Russia. Gen. Dela Paz went to Moscow in an official capacity, as member of the Philippine delegation… carrying a huge amount of ‘public’ money ostensibly to cover the expenses to be incurred by the delegation.”
“The matter affects Philippine international obligations. We take judicial notice of the fact that the Philippines is a state party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. The two conventions contain provisions dealing with the movement of considerable foreign currency across borders,” it said.
“The Moscow incident would reflect on our country’s compliance with the obligations required of state parties under these conventions. Thus, the respondent committee can properly inquire into this matter, particularly as to the source and purpose of the funds discovered in Moscow as this would involve the Philippines’ commitments under these conventions,” it added.
PNP officials ready to face Senate probe anew
By Aris R. Ilagan
Philippine National Police officials are ready to appear before any congressional investigation into the case of a former police director held by airport authorities in Moscow for carrying more than the allowed limit of foreign currency last October after the Supreme Court ruled the Senate has authority to investigate the incident, a PNP spokesman said yesterday.
In an interview, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Nicanor Bartolome said police officials are ready to face a Senate investigation on the seizure by Russian customs authorities of some 105,000 euros from the group of then retiring police officer Eliseo de la Paz, while about to leave Moscow.
“We will appear as we have appeared before,” Bartolome said. “We were there in full force and we will appear again if required by Senate authorities.”
Bartolome was reacting to the Supreme Court ruling dismissing the petition of Dela Paz and his wife, Marie Fe, questioning the Senate’s authority to investigate the incident and to order their arrest after they refused to show up during the first days of the hearing last October.
De la Paz was temporarily held by Russian authorities after he failed to the declare the 105,000 euros he brought into Russia while attending the 77th International Police Assembly in St. Petersburg in Russia.
The controversy triggered an investigation on the source of the huge amount of money which was confiscated by Russian authorities from De la Paz, former PNP comptroller who retired from the police service last October 9.
Among the many official explanations of where the money came from, PNP authorities claimed the money was part of the PNP intelligence fund for the purchase of surveillance equipment in Russia.
PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa led a group of police officers, some of whom were among those who attended the Interpol conference, that appeared twice before the Senate Foreign Relations committee chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago .
Santiago questioned the legality in the disbursement process and the source of the huge amount brought by De la Paz’s group to Russia.
The PNP has yet to receive from Russian customs authorities the 105,000 euros confiscated from Dela Paz in Moscow.
By Rey G. Panaligan
While a lot of companies have started terminating some of their employees and streamlining operations, the Philippine National Police (PNP) continues to hire more policemen.
“The police service is inversely affected by the economic crisis. When people are losing jobs in the private sector, that is the time we hire more policemen. When times are hard, petty crimes rise,” Gen. Verzosa said. Full Story