Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bullshit Squatters


This morning, 6:30 AM, April 28, 2011, I saw on ABS-CBN footages of the violence that erupted during the final eviction of squatters in Laperal Compound , Makati City after it was burned a few weeks back. Again, the rage in me against these squatters was aroused. These are the people who had forfeited their right to be members of this society. At the very minimum, they should be imprisoned in hard labor to at least make them pay up the back real estate taxes that for so long they failed to pay the government while enjoying the social services brought about by these taxes like the firetrucks that respond to them during the frequent fires that hit their illegally occupied squatters areas in the past. Obviously, I despise squatters nu?



I believe that squatters are the reason why this country is hard up in rising to the heights that it supposed to reach. Aside from reducing the elections in this country into a contest of who can give them food for a day, these squatters are also the epitome and illustration of the worst Filipino trait: “Lulusot kung pupwedeng makalusot.” Just like the jeepney and tricycle drivers that many of them are, they will only follow the rules if somebody enforces it upon them. Turn your eyes for a moment and they will be like mice left alone by the cat. In another analogy, in that timeless illustration of the bayanihan spirit where people carry a bahay kubo in their shoulders, these squatters are the ones who hang on to the trusses, further adding weight to the load instead of carrying it.



Squatters know that what they are doing is wrong. Looking at the sidewalks, they know that it is wrong to construct anything in it. But these very same criminals will ask for a court order once somebody attempts to demolish their houses. But did they care to get a building permit in the first place? These people will always interpret the law in their favor and you can see the politicians kowtowing to them because of the votes (for sale) that they supposedly command. Manila City and Quezon City politicians are the most notorious in this MO with many elections for the mayoralty race decided by the swing votes from the squatters area.


Do you see the Ombudsman building in the background?  It is where the squatters run to to file complaints against government officials involved in demolitions!  Hahaha!

I remember another episode also in ABS-CBN where one of the guests was QC District II Representative Winston Castelo. Castelo was insinuating that arson may be behind the several fires that happened in squatter areas because he noted that the owners appear to be ready to move in and reoccupy their lands by fencing it and posting guards after the fires. He further said that because of this, he is mulling of crafting a law prohibiting these acts by the land owners.

This style of Castelo is the “style na bulok” that is reflective of the mindset of many Quezon City and Metro Manila politicians. This is the very reason why Quezon City, specifically District II that Castelo represents, is the undisputed kingdom of squatters. Incidentally, District II QC hosts the House of Representatives. (I am wont to ask, could it be that this phenomenon is just a way of the area to keep up with the reality that the biggest kingdom of criminals, robbers, and squatters in this country is located in those four buildings inside the National Government Center Compound, Constitution Hills, Batasan Road, Quezon City? But that is another story.) Castelo wants to be popular with the squatters. But is it not that there is an existing law that prohibits constructions without the corresponding permits? Even fencing needs a permit. So why is it that the squatters can re build their illegal houses without any permits but the owners who have the required permit can’t?



Squatters are the real scums of the society. They are the textbook example of people who do not fight fair. Their reason “kapit sa patalim” just doesn’t cut it anymore (pun intended). Just look around the squatters area: many of those people there are only renters who pay to “owners” of the houses. Perfect example of professional squatters as defined in that stupid Lina Law. Even inside many big police camps, policemen themselves are paying rent to civilian "house owners" people who in the first place have no right to be there!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Unli-rice and Angelito Banayo

I just can’t resist the itch of commenting in non-police matters but this unli-rice issue created by NFA Administrator Angelito Banayo is something that I just can’t let pass.

For me, the statement of Banayo is more than just a simple error in policy. It reinforces the notion that this government of PNoy is totally disconnected with the general pulse of the people. PNoy has his Porsche. Lito Banayo is no exception. He has his unli rice. For what can you expect from a person who belongs to a rich family from childhood to adulthood. In his now inactive blog, his last post is about his childhood that is unmistakably not proletarian. His present situation is no different. As he himself said, all of his children are in the “US of A” so most probably, breakfast for him nowadays is bacon and egg sandwich. Or looking at his picture, his no-rice breakfast must have been dictated not by the desire to reduce consumption but compelled by circumstances brought about by past overconsumption.

Also in the same blog, Banayo claimed to be the consultant of several political personalities like Senator Orlando Mercado, Senate President Marcelo B. Fernan, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Speaker Ramon Mitra, Jr., Ronaldo Zamora, Manuel A. Roxas III and Hernando B. Perez—all political failures if you consider the fact that one time or the other, all of these people were touted to be potential presidentiables. And all failed. The only success story in his political consultancy resume is Joseph Estrada. And we all know what happened to Erap two years after his unprecedented landslide victory. Could this be because Banayo was never in sync with the voters in the first place?

His statement is nothing surprising if you consider these as backdrop. For quite a while now, he must not have experienced (or never experienced) eating in Mang Inasal and took advantage of their unli rice promo and scheduling your meal at 2 PM so that you need not take dinner in the evening to save on meal allowance money. They have so much money and lived in comfort that they forgot that more than half of the Filipinos out there were patronizing the unlimited rice not because of gluttony but because of necessity.

He has to get his feet back to the ground!

CIDG

Last week, newspapers were screaming the headline, “40% of CIDG members not trained in crime investigation” quoting the new CIDG Chief Samuel Pagdilao. It was about time that somebody tells the truth about the CIDG. While before the CIDG is considered to be a very competent police investigation unit just like the reputation of its predecessor the PC CIS, the CIDG nowadays is a unit that really has to fight for its relevance. It has outlived its purpose except be just one of the “butas” that illegal gamblers and the other underworld gangs have to make “areglo” with.

From its official website, the mission statement of CIDG is:
Free from politics, ininterrupted (sic) by territorial limitations and countrywide in scope, the CIDG performs the following missions:
1. To undertake the monitoring, investigation and prosecution of all crimes involving economic savotage and other crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly-placed professional syndicates or organizations; and,

2. To investigate all major cases involving violation of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and to conduct operations against organized crime groups (OCGs), unless the president assigns the case exclusively to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)

Reading this mission statement, one cannot help but ask, what about the rest of the PNP? Is it not that the mission of the PNP (also from its official website) is:

The PNP shall enforce the law, prevent and control crimes, maintain peace and order, and ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community.

Is the CIDG a very special unit in the PNP? Why do you need a special unit that basically duplicates one of the most basic functions of the PNP?

The PC CIS has to be created during the PC/INP days because there is a need for a unit that has a nationwide scope of operations. The PC is not really a police force and the INP is simply local police with very limited capability so the CIS was created to fill the middle ground. But now the PNP is national in scope. That is in its charter. The PNP can operate anywhere so it is not uncommon for policemen from one jurisdiction to operate in another jurisdiction. That is why the coordination form is one of the most common documents in the PNP.

The CIDG has the mandate. But do they have the responsibility? At this time, several “one strike policies” about this and that criminal incident are in effect. A commander gets the boot if jueteng is detected and interdicted in his area. A precinct commander also gets axed if a gas station is held up. The local police is also blamed if there is a bank robbery. How about the CIDG? Where are they all these time? Is it not that jueteng is the best example of an organized crime group? Is it not that bank robbery is economic sabotage? Is it not that hold up is a heinous crime? Why is it that it is the local police that gets blamed when something like this happens?

The CIDG has all the powers and authority but they have no responsibility whatsoever. I remember one PNP officer lamenting during the height of the jueteng scandal in Metro Manila last year asking why is it that they get blamed and relieved when the CIDG raids a jueteng operation in their area when in the first place it was the CIDG who talked to them and organized their payola before the operations started?

I think this is actually the reason why the PNP cannot really get its act together because the organizational structure in itself is terribly flawed to start with.

The CIDG is not the place for officers like General Pagdilao. His transfer from PRO4A to CIDG in my view is a demotion. He should have been promoted to NCRPO Chief so that he can get his 2nd star and line him up to be the next Chief PNP before Dir Bartolome. That way, the PNP can have a thinking Chief PNP for a change. Gen Pagdilao’s talents will be wasted in CIDG. All his time will be consumed plugging holes in a leaking boat that should have been already scuttled and sank in the first place.

Yes, I believe that CIDG should be deactivated now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

“Full Alert:” Another Illustration of Mediocrity in the PNP

A few moments ago, (April 16, 2011, 6:45PM), I heard over DZMM RD NCRPO, PDirector Nick Bartolome being interviewed by Gus Abelgas in “SOCO sa DZMM.” The topic was about the “OPLAN Semana Santa” preparations of NCRPO. Dir Bartolome’s interview had been going well, until the portion where he said that NCRPO had already declared “Full Alert.” Nothing wrong with that actually, except that his next statement was an apology to the families of NCRPO policemen if their loved ones (the NCRPO cops) are not home during the full alert. According to him, during full alert, “walang uwian ang pulis.” Now, this is where I want to focus this article.

As the touted next Chief, PNP, I had high hopes on Dir Bartolome. Though I do not know him personally and he definitely does not know me from Adam, I have heard nothing but good things about him—until this statement.

His interpretation of the “Full Alert” as a period of “walang uwian” for policemen betrays his lack of correct appreciation of present-day police work situation. I want to write about this misappreciation of police work by the PNP top brass because it is not only PDir Bartolome who thinks this way. I notice that almost all of my previous bosses think this way too. And what is this “line of thinking” and what is its significance anyway?

This line of thinking shows that almost 20 years after the PNP was established with a drastically different paradigm from its predecessor which is the Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police, many in the current top brass of the PNP still think like the PC ways, especially those who were former PC officers like PDir Bartolome. This is nothing to be surprised of actually as almost all of the top generals now are products of the military academy who chose PC as their branch of service.

The “Full Alert” in the PNP today is equated to the “Red Alert” during the PC days and the “Heightened Alert” to the “Blue Alert.” During “Red Alert,” all PC personnel are required to be in the barracks, waiting for deployment and in “Blue Alert,” half of the strength is required. They are accounted for by their “First Sergeants” and ensured that they are all intact and ready for jump off.

At this point, I want to emphasize the word “barracks.” Almost all PC camps before were simply called “barracks” so much so that when you return to barracks after a night out in town, simply telling the tricycle driver “barracks” is sure to get you to the right destination. You never tell the driver that you want to go to the police station, otherwise, you will be ferried to the “municipio” where the INP people hold office. This illustrates the highly different job environments of the then PC as compared to the PNP today. Most of the time, the more significant jobs of the PC were governed by specific orders that when it is normal alert, most, if not all of them were out there in town with no specific mission because routine peace and order like foot patrol, traffic control, fire incident response, and the like were given to the INP. The PNP today is more like the INP rather than the PC.

The INP were the real policemen during those days. The “Great Divide” can be seen right at the ranks. The PC officers were simply referred to as 2nd Lt, 1st Lt, Captain, Major, etc. while the INP Officers were referred to as P/Lt, P/Capt, P/Major, etc. This “P” in their ranks meant “police” but instead of being a badge of honor, it is a major liability as rarely can you see a major PC/INP unit headed by an officer with a "P" in his rank. And even more rarely can you see a PC officer in a unit headed by an INP officer. The INP was the police and the PC was, well, the PC.

The PC was really a military organization. “Red Alerts” were declared during critical times like when there are reported threats to the camp, big holidays like Christmas, when there is a firefight going on between government units and the enemies of the state, and the like. “Red Alerts” may extend from a few days to weeks and during all this time, the PC people are in the barracks.  And the barracks are living quarters where personnel can eat, sleep, and do all their personal necessities quite comfortably.  And most importantly, it is perfectly legal to sleep in the barracks.

The specific PC “missions” were not much different from the “missions” of other land-based units of the AFP. These “missions” were usually tactical level operations with specific targets for destruction or as we officially term it until now, “neutralization.” “Arrest” is actually a word in the lowest recesses of the PC dictionary, classified under the section “Foreign Words and Phrases.” PC missions were combat patrols that last for days or weeks and bring the PC guys to remote areas. After the “mission,” they return to barracks and wait for another “mission.” During these “missions,” the PC naturally follow “ranger tactics” where they eat, sleep, and poop in their “harbor area” following strict “security procedures” lest they get eaten alive by the enemy. This is so because during these missions, they are out there in the field, literally. Thus, for PC people, it is understandable that "walang uwian pag red alert."

Now, is this the same with the present PNP? Are the job environments of the PNP and the PC the same? Is it correct to equate “Red Alert” with the “Full Alert?” Most importantly, is PDir Bartolome correct when he said that “Full Alert” is “walang uwian?”

Let us examine the present job environment of the PNP. Especially the NCRPO which Dir Bartolome heads, PNP personnel are based in a police station usually located in a very busy urban location. Many police stations are situated in highly built-up areas and most of the time, space is limited that the only private space for policemen is a locker room where they can change into their uniforms. A police station with a barracks is more of an exception rather than the rule. And just rightly so. A police station does not need a barracks. Policemen should be walking in the streets, pounding their beats during their duty hours and not while away their time and loiter in the barracks!

This is the biggest difference between the PC and the PNP that current generals who were former PCs seemingly forget. When a PC patrol gets tired, they can rest and sleep in their temporary harbor area in the field. As such, they can last in their “mission” for long periods and not go back to their barracks for weeks. But what about present day policemen? Can they sleep during their duty hours? Can they occupy a “harbor area” and rest just like what the PC people did? Woe to him who gets caught by a media camera sleeping inside a patrol car, a precinct, or basically anywhere while he is in uniform! In this environment then, how long can a policeman effectively last in his job like patrol or investigation before he needs to rest and sleep?

Ideally, just like any other worker, 8 hours is just about right, though 12-hour shifts are not uncommon in the PNP. Now, after their duty, where do the generals expect their policemen to go? Back to the station? Especially during “Full Alerts” like “OPLAN Semana Santa,” where do Dir Bartolome expects the policeman to go after their shift? “Walang uwian?” Kid me!

(This is another illustration of the non-thinking nature of the PNP where even the supposedly brilliant officers just continue the systems and process that they “found in station,” never mind if the system is stupid or outdated or already passé. I am sure that PDir Bartolome knows that the concept of equating “Full Alert” to “Red Alert” is wrong but he just does not dare to change it lest he shows that he knows how to think and jeopardize his chances of being the next Chief, PNP. In the PNP right now (and the government in general ha), I think it is “Bawal ang nag-iisip. Baka mas gumaling pa kayo sa Presidente!” Hahahaha!)

PS.

This type of PNP operations like the “OPLAN Semana Santa” where Dir Bartolome said “We deployed more than 5,000 policemen for this purpose.” is nothing but sound bites. But I will reserve that for another “Mediocrity” article.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Commemorative Plates and the Continued Idiotization of the PNP

If the title shows my obvious frustration, just let it be. For so long, I wanted to write about the nincompoops in the PNP higher ups but I kept my peace because mediocrity in the PNP is understandable considering the brain drain that it continues to experience. (I will write more about this topic in the future.) However, even the few bright men (or so I thought) that remained in the PNP to reach the star ranks are seemingly influenced by the non-thinking ones and not the other way around. The latest general I saw afflicted by this “mediocrity-syndrome” is Leonardo Espina, the Chief of the Highway Patong Group (Formerly the Trigger Men Group). Espina was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer saying “As a general rule, commemorative plates should be placed side by side or on top of the original license plate.”
As a former spokesman of the PNP and an officer with a reputation as a bright boy, I expect Espina to at least reduce the confusion about commemorative plates started by the feeling-bright Supt Dennis Siervo when he was still the Chief of HPG-NCR in his attempt to impress PNoy during the early days of the latter’s presidency. Espina and Siervo wanted that commemorative plates be displayed this way:



Is this the correct way? Let us examine the law that governs this: Republic Act 4136 otherwise known as the "Land Transportation and Traffic Code." RA 4136 states in Section 18 (Use of number plates) "At all times, every motor vehicle shall display in conspicuous places, one in front and one in the rear thereof, the said number plates. The number plates shall be kept clean and cared for, and shall be firmly affixed to the motor vehicle in such a manner as will make it entirely visible and always legible." So the law is very clear. Will superimposing a commemorative plate over the license plate, like in this case, a violation of the law?



Definitely yes, because doing so will violate the requirement that the plate must always be legible and entirely visible. So that makes Espina and Siervo right? No!

This is so because legal commemorative plates have this special permit in the form of a sticker affixed to the windshield of the vehicle:





The permit reads: “This commemorative motor vehicle plate is authorized and approved by LTO and DOTC. Valid until ****." It is signed by the LTO, the DOTC, and the representative of the group producing the plates. Issuing this permit is also legal and within the power of the LTO because Section 17 (a) of RA 4136 reads “The Commissioner shall cause number plates to be prepared and issued to owners of motor vehicles and trailers registered under this Act.”

What is the significance of this permit? Well, most of the time, commemorative plates are produced by a group, with the approval of the LTO, after paying the corresponding fees imposed by the government, to “commemorate” a significant event and at the same time, to raise funds for some charitable purpose. The plates are sold at some exorbitant prices, some going as high as P5,000.00 each. And what is the purpose of people in buying these plates? Nothing really except that personally, the plates give me a feeling of uniqueness as it sets my car apart from the others. Do other people buy it to evade number coding? Maybe, but most, if not all, know that even while using the plates and they get apprehended for number coding violation (using their tag numbers at the back), then they know that they will not be saved by the plates. So, if Espina wants people to display the commemorative plates side by side or on top of the regular plates, why in hell do LTO and DOTC need to issue these permits in the first place? Isn’t it that displaying other plates is not illegal, as long as the original plates are not covered? Why do people need permits—that they pay the government for it—to do something perfectly legal in the first place anyway?

Idiotic, isn’t it? Obviously, the permit is for people to use the commemorative plate like a regular plate! They can cover the regular plate if they want to! If you don’t agree with me, then what are you going to do with this jeepney? Apprehend him for not having a permit for his “commemorative plate?” Is he committing a violation? Does he need a permit to do this?



Postscript: All pictures in this entry are grabbed from the internet. If you are the owner of any of this and you do not want me to use your picture, please email me. Thanks!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Bacoor Cops vs Obillos, Abaya et al. Part 3

I read in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today that the DOJ is recommending the filing of 2 counts of murder against 14 police officers involved in the infamous Bacoor, Cavite-shooting incident during the May 10, 2010 automated elections that led to the death of a retired police officer and a navy officer.

I had written two entries (Entry 1, Entry 2) about this incident in this blog last year and to say that I am saddened with the DOJ resolution is an understatement. I am actually outraged at the brazenness of power peddling of the Abayas and at the same time, I am disappointed with PNoy himself for tolerating such shenanigans. Just because the Abayas are Liberal Party members?

I need not re-explain my position as I think, for non-believers, no explanation will be sufficient. I just would like to show a screen grab from the incident and you be the judge. The man holding an m-16 was “victim” Navy Petty Officer Juanito Paraiso. The policeman in uniform is now one of the accused. Just look at the picture and see for yourself if the Obillos camp is as faultless as they say they are.



With the way PNoys administration is going, he will be indeed very lucky if he actually finishes his term. He has to remember that the winning margin of Joseph Estrada over his closest rival (24%) is way way bigger than his margin (15%) over Erap. Yet this margin of Erap was eroded in just a little over 2 years. PNoy better keep this in mind and start thinking clearer while walking the Matuwid na daan!