Thursday, July 14, 2011

Political Patronage in the PNP

“To our personnel, stop seeking assistance from influential people in the PNP, instead, acknowledge your designated assignments and duties earnestly as you have pledged equality and righteousness as a police officer.”

Last week, the Chief, Philippine National Police, Director General Raul Bacalzo made this statement. He is discouraging PNP personnel from seeking political patronage in positions and promotions.

The CPNP is dreaming. I am sure that he himself reached his position because of political benefactors. He was not the best man in the PNP when the selection of the top cop came. Perfecto Palad was—but he did not have the backer that Bacalzo had. Samuel Pagdilao is the best man to replace him, but I am sure as hell that Pagdilao will not get it. He does not have the backing that Nicanor Bartolome has. Bacalzo became the Chief PNP because he just happened to be the guy who replaces Jesus Versoza every time the latter was relieved since their junior officer days in the PC/INP. And everybody knows who Versoza is: the guy na sumabit sa dalawang Puno. But I do not fault Bacalzo for that. That is called political savvy.

Even Jaime Milla of the DPRM cannot claim that he rose to the rank of Director without any political backing. His PDS will show that he is not exactly the best man in the PNP to hold the lofty position that he holds right now. He was the Regional Director of PRO 13 when the police station of Cantilan, Surigao del Sur was attacked by the NPA. This speaks of the kind of leadership he has as a senior field commander. Ironically, he was designated as Director for DIPO Eastern Mindanao during the 2010 Persidential Elections. His biggest gain to fame is that he is one of the insiders in the PSMBFI syndicate.

As of the moment, political patronage is a must for any PNP member who wants his career get somewhere. Partly, it is because of the culture of the Filipinos where blood is thicker than water and personal relations is a big factor in establishing trust, and partly, because of the law itself. Political patronage as a necessity in the PNP is almost explicitly enshrined in RA 6975. Section 51 titled “Powers the of Local Government Officials Over the PNP Units or Forces” clearly states:

“Governors and mayors shall be deputized as representatives of the Commission in their respective territorial jurisdiction. As such, the local executives shall discharge the following functions:
(a) Provincial Governor
1. Power to Choose the Provincial Director. – The provincial governor shall choose the provincial director from a list of three (3) eligible recommended by the PNP regional director.

(b) Other Powers. – In addition to the aforementioned powers, city and municipal mayors shall have the following authority over the PNP units in their respective jurisdictions:
1. Authority to choose the chief of police from a list of five (5) eligibles recommended by the provincial police director, preferably from the same province, city, or municipality.
2. Authority to recommend the transfer, reassignment, or detail of PNP members outside of their respective city or town residences; and
3. Authority to recommend, from a list of eligibles previously screened by the peace and order council, the appointment of new members of the PNP to be assigned to their respective cities or municipalities without which no such appointment shall be attested.

The law is very clear. You want to be a Provincial Director? You need to be chosen by the Governor from a list given to him by the Regional Director.

You want to be a Chief of Police? You need to be chosen by the Mayor from the list given to him by the Provincial Director.

You want to go against the mayor? He can recommend for your transfer, reassignment, or detail outside his city.

You want to be a cop in a certain city? You need to be chosen by the mayor from a list previously screened by the peace and order council.

At the ground level, the situation is even more magnified, and much blame can be squarely put in the shoulders of top PNP leadership, including Bacalzo himself. This is because the PNP is almost totally dependent on the LCEs for its daily operations. Almost all patrol cars in the municipalities were donated by the local government units. Those few that are organic PNP property are maintained by the LGUs because after the PNP turns over the vehicle to the end users, then that’s it—no more funds for maintenance. Besides, local mechanics don’t accept payments in Euros (the official currency of the PNP), do they?

And the biggest stranglehold of the LGUs to the local PNP unit is the most basic need of all patrol operations: gasoline. The PNP just let trickles reach the actual operating patrol units because most of the gasoline are either used in NHQ or converted to cash and stolen by the thieves in the Directorate for Logistics.

Even the Integrated Transformation Program is encouraging mendicancy. One of its major strategies is gathering support from other stakeholders which is just another term for begging.

If Bacalzo is really intent of professionalizing the PNP where its members simply do their jobs and do not seek for political patronage, he should start in the NHQ. Clean up the top echelon and let resources reach the end users. Then he can expect the rank and file to only consider one chain of command.

There is an admonition that says: “You do not bite the hand that feeds you.”

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sheriff Abe Andres should be fired

Sheriff Abe Andres should be fired. This, after he refused to file charges against Mayor Sara Duterte.

Andres has a history of not knowing his job. In 2007 he was suspended for not doing his job properly. Now, he is still not doing his job properly.

Latest revelations show that there was a stay order issued by the judge that effectively stops him from carrying out the writ of demolition. In this case, Sara Duterte is right, although her resorting to violence was never and can never be justified—even though during the time of the now infamous “pananapak,” nobody was still aware of the stay order.

Be that as it may, Abe Andres is still mandated by law to file criminal and administrative cases against anybody who uses force to stop a lawful court order. It is part of his duties as sheriff. To understand his reluctance in filing the charges, as opposed to the seemingly ironic fervor, passion, and zeal that he displayed during the actual demolition just a few days ago, one has to understand the way sheriffs think.

In my personal experience, sheriffs rarely file cases or even just order the arrest of people, violently opposing the implementation of a court order. Based on my personal and first-hand knowledge, here are the reasons:

1. Most sheriffs are corrupt. They need to be bribed and paid by the plaintiffs before they implement a court order. This is not difficult to understand if you consider their monthly pay vis-à-vis their job description.

2. Before a sheriff implements a court order, he usually requests for police assistance (based on the orders of the judge). However, before police assistance is rendered, the “budget” is always settled first with the plaintiffs (The police actually expects this too!) “Budget” is usually P1,000 for each policeman, P5,000 to P50,000 to the chief of police, depending on the number of policemen he commits, and P500 to P800 for each demolition crew member. The lump sum is usually received by the sheriff days or weeks before the actual demolition. So it really needs no great stretch of the imagination to see how the sheriff makes money from this. (He asks a budget for 100 policemen but only requests for 50!)

3. In the first demolition attempt, if there are some glitches and for whatever reasons and the demolition does not push through, the budget is considered spent or “sunog” in their lingo. The sheriff just makes a report to the judge and even the flimsiest of reasons, like somebody is violently opposing it, is usually accepted without question by the judge. (In most probability, the sheriff shares part of the loot to the judge.) This is what the sheriffs look forward to because if the implementation fails, he only gives part of the “budget” to the personnel concerned. The “savings” is now added to the earlier cut he had.

Now you know why the success or failure of the demolition order is the least concern of the sheriff.

Putting into perspective the uncharacteristic eagerness of Sheriff Andres of immediately carrying out the demolition order despite the request of Mayor Duterte, in all probability, this is because he had already received the budget from the plaintiffs AND he is aware of the stay order. He needs to act fast and START the implementation. He knows that he will never finish it because of a lot of legal and political reasons, not the least of which is the request of Duterte and the stay order.

But because he had started implementing the order before it was halted by the thundering blows of the Mayora, the budget is now considered “sunog,” thus he needed a few days off to laugh all the way to the bank!

And he cannot file a case against the Mayora. First and foremost, he is a corrupt sheriff with lots of skeletons in his closet. So he does what he does best. He exploits to the hilt his role of the “kawawa,” “inapi,” and “takot.” This achieves a three-fold purpose: 1st, he hopes to keep his skeletons in the closet; 2nd, he does not make enemies with the Dutertes, and 3rd and most importantly, it further strengthens his position with the plaintiffs and justify the request for a higher budget in the next implementation.

He might even be expecting a “tip” from the plaintiffs, which he may call as “hazard pay!”

Whatever…he should be fired immediately if he continues to refuse to file charges against Mayor Duterte.

And that will be his last writ…