Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Obvious Stupidity of Congress that Nobody Cared About (Until now)

A while ago, I am watching the hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability chaired by Hon. Oscar S. Rodriguez on the MRT scam with the newly resigned MRT General Manager Al Vitangcol III as resource person.  Once again, I cannot help but feel mixed anger and amusement while watching the proceedings.  Actually, I am waiting for a smart aleck resource person to make the statement that I am waiting to say if ever my time comes to be in the hot seat.  Unfortunately, nobody dared yet.

What is my beef this time?  I am not an expert in law nor I will pretend to be one so I will not cite jurisprudence or written references to support my argument but rather, use common sense as basis and I hope that I can sway you on my side.

It had to be borne in mind that Congress holds public hearings in aid of legislation.  The resource persons are exactly like that:  resource persons.  It is presumed that they are invited to the hearing as expert witnesses who have the information that the legislators need in crafting whatever law they intend to make.  SO WHY IS IT THAT RODRIGUEZ WAS BADGERING VITANGCOL AND ACCUSING HIM OF LYING?  (Make no mistake about it, I am not about to defend Vitangcol.  In fact I believe the ambassador more than his denial.  For this I think he should go to jail).  For several times, Rodriguez even reminded Vitangcol that the latter is under oath, implying that he can be held under arrest just like what other congressmen had done in the past against witnesses who they accused of lying.

Here is my beef:  Is it not that the proceedings are in aid of legislation and that they are conducting the hearing to extract new information from the resource persons that may be useful to whatever law that they will craft after the hearings?  Now, if the honorable congressmen already know the answers (because how can you accuse someone of lying if you yourself do not know the truth?), what is the use of the hearings?  They already have the information so the hearings then are a pure waste of taxpayer’s money.

Most importantly, is it not that proceedings in Congress are covered by parliamentary immunity?  This basic principle ensures that debate and discourse on the floor are not shackled by law, except those covering proper decorum.  So, if members are extended this privilege, why it cannot be extended to resource persons?  They are in the same proceedings for crissake.  What is sauce for the gander is also sauce for the goose, di ba?

If this happens to me in the future and a congressman accuses me of lying in a congressional inquiry, this is what I will say:

“Your honors, you invited me to this hearing as a resource person.  I assume that by definition of a resource person, you need me here because you believe that I have information that you do not have yet and this information is useful for you in crafting new laws.  But it appears that you already know everything, there is nothing new in what I say, and that you do not believe some of the things that I said.  Worst, you are even accusing me of lying.  So your honors, will you please excuse me, I have nothing to offer to you as a resource person.  Bye!”

So will they throw me in jail?  On what grounds?  Remember, in the laws of the Philippines, there is only one rule covering the arrest of a person without a warrant:  Rule 113 of the Rules of Court and this law I know by heart.  What about those arrest warrants being sent out in the past by these stupid congressmen?  I am sure as hell that I can challenge those for being unconstitutional!  No matter how many times I read the Constitution, I cannot find a provision that states that Congress has the power to arrest or discipline the general public.  For their members, yes, but for the general public?  Only the Courts can do that!  If Congress made internal rules that allow their members to do that, then it has to be challenged in Court!

Or in the streets...

Or I could be wrong.  Please send your comments!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Everyday Corruption in Our Society (A continuing article)

This article is moved and given a separate page.  Please click on the link above (below the home button).

The Napolist, the Journalists, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last week while driving home, I listened with mixed chagrin, amusement, bewilderment, and what have you at the brazenness and utter “plasticity” of Doris Bigornia and Alvin Elchico over DZMM in their program SRO-Suhestyon, Reaksyon, at Opinyon.  They were blasting Nancy Carvajal and the Philippine Daily Inquirer for publishing the “Napolist” in its entirety allegedly “WITHOUT FIRST VERIFYING THE FACTS AND WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.”  This is what got my goat.  The media, when they goad (and oftentimes successfully) policemen to present suspects through the firing line type of presentation (now prohibited but stupidity still persists intermittently), has neither gall nor compunction in publishing the pictures and press releases in their newspapers, and most often, in the front pages of the tabloids.  What evidence is at hand in most of these cases?  A complainant pointing at the suspect?  An alleged recovered evidence from the possession of the suspect?  Strictly speaking, these are not established evidence at all and yet the media raises no howl in these instances and most often, even encouraged it.

Now on the Napolist.  Why are many members of the media raising a ruckus against Nancy Carvajal and the Philippine Daily Inquirer?  What evidence do we have at this point against the mediamen included in it?  For many of them, namely Tulfo and Carmelo del Prado, there is the paper trail—the checks, vouchers, and all.  (Yet as of the moment, the networks of both media men cleared them, highlighting another ugly head of Philippine media:  corruption is also in its core and it is an accepted practice.  For what issue or issues that the Department of Agriculture has that it needs two known AC/DC broadcasters to personally deal with, including the broadcast expenses and other remunerations?)  Likewise, there are the statements of the main players themselves—Napoles and Luy.  Compared to the evidence that often lands a petty holdupper in the firing line presscon, the evidence on this case against the journalists are more tangible and even independently verifiable.

Likewise, the Napolist published by Carvajal is just what it is:  it is just a list.  No pictures, no details, and no other nonsense, as compared to the petty thief whose picture while in handcuff and often times mugshot is splashed in print, radio, and TV after the presscon.  In TV especially, petty suspects in petty crimes are even shown while being humiliated, slapped, and what have you.  In the program of the Tulfo brothers, people, especially government officials, are publicly lambasted just  upon the say so of whoever is the complainant sitting beside the anchor.  Raffy Tulfo, in his program “Wanted sa Radyo” OBB (opening billboard to the uninitiated, says, “Bobo ang pulis at piskal na ito.” and “That is plain and simple murder sir!” just upon the narration of a lone complainant.)

So what do these plastic journalists cry about?  If the standards that they are demanding now, of only publishing articles after the facts and evidence are solidly established, are applied to all persons just like they demand that it be applied to journalists, then many of them, especially the tabloids, will be out of business in no time for lack of valid news items to publish.  Especially those 21 tabloids covering the customs bureau (can you believe that all of these hawshiaos are members of the National Press Club headed by the equally hawshiao Benny Antiporda), the tabloid business will be a howling wilderness so to speak.

I personally know a number of media people, both the legit and the AC/DC kind and I can tell you that the latter outnumber the former by a mile.  Anyhow, despite of what other detractors say about the Inquirer (and some are legit gripes like having a Tulfo among their esteemed roster of writers), their editorial decision to publish the “Napolist” in its entirety had me renewing my faith in them.  Indeed, being a loyal reader (which started in my high school days where I have to walk 5Kms to the town center just to buy one for my father), I can authoritatively say that I have seen their transformation from era to era, from a militant upstart newspaper to the almost bully pulpit of the yellow army, to now, the maverick who broke the long standing but unwritten code of journalists of omerta among themselves.

Balanced News, Fearless Views indeed!

Mabuhay Inquirer! 

PS.  To prove that I am a loyal reader, I can tell you that that tagline was the winning contribution in the contest by the Inquirer when they asked the readers to formulate its tagline early in its life.  If I remember it right, the winning entry originally reads "News that are Balanced and Views that are Fearless."

Likewise, I am already a fan when their domain name was still www.inq7.net!

Korek?  Hahahaha!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 4d – Deactivation or Reorganization of Outdated NSUs (Finance Service)

The Finance Service is a very old unit that was rendered irrelevant by technology and the shift of mandate of the PNP from the PC.  It is now irrelevant in the strictest terms because its main job—to deliver the pay and allowances of the policemen in the field is now best done by technology just as almost all other government agencies, including the PNP itself, through the use of the ATMs.  But one may wonder why up to this time, the unit, instead of being deactivated or at the very least scaled down, continued to thrive, and in fact, became one of the most coveted and elitist units in the PNP.  The PNP Finance family had become so closed and elitist that one cannot just join the Finance Officers Course unless a current member favorably endorses his application and vouches for his “integrity.”  Why is this so?  Let us examine first the basic facts about the unit.

From its website (http://pnpfs.org/), here is the history of the unit:

1898-1936 Finance work was being done by “PAGADORES”.  At HQs PC level, a paymaster performed similar tasks.

1936 – The Philippine Army was established and absorbed the PC.
The Finance work was under the Quartermaster Service and Finance Personnel wore Quartermaster insignia.
As transactions snowballed in the Philippine Army, finance duties were decentralized, leading to the creation of the position of a Provincial Finance Officer.

1938 – Military Districts were established and Prov’l Finance were replaced by the District Finance Officers.
Unit Finance Officers were also provided for independent posts, camps and stations.

1940 – Continuous military built-up brought about growing and increasing finance activities, thus the emancipation of the finance service from the Quartermaster Service pursuant to Commonwealth Act No. 569 dater 07 June 1940, amending Commonwealth Act No 01.
The finance service Central Office was at the Western Wing of the Old Depot Bldg. at Muella dela Industria in Binondo, Manila.

1941 – The then personnel of the Military Service doing finance functions changed their branch of service to Finance Service with the advent of World War II in 1941. Division Finance Officers were created to replace the District Finance Officers.
At the break of war, Central HQ of FS was transferred to Mariveles, Bataan.
Division Finance Officer was created replacing the District Finance Officer.

1945 – During the liberation period early 1945, it was the Finance Center that took charge in setting the pay and allowances of the USAFFE survivors.

1946 – In June 1946, shortly thereafter, another re-organization took place.
A total of 34 FDS were evenly distributed nationwide each to service a certain number of units.

Oct 5, 1948 – The positions of the Deputy Chief of Finance for the Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy were created pursuant to Circular No. 86 HNDF.

July 1, 1957 – The Office of the Deputy Chief, FC was established when HPA was separated from GHQ.

March 14, 1958 – Finance Disbursing Units (FDU’s) were established for the Major Services were established pursuant to paragraph 20, Department Order No.74 Department of National Defense dated 14 March 1958.

Jan 30, 1959 – At this time, the Finance Service insignia of “DIAMOND” was replaced by a golden eight scallop shell embedded with one pearl and a set of green laurel leaves.

1973 – On July 1, 1973m the Officer of the Chief Finance, AFP was deactivated pursuant to para II, Go # 67, GHQ, AFP dfd 20 Aug 1973 in line with the reorganization of the AFP Comptroller which integrated the functions of accounting, financial recording, and internal auditing.

1976 – The Constabulary Finance Center was reorganized and was renamed PC/INP Finance Center pursuant to HPC/INP GO No. 5-P dated 2 Jan 1976 that took effect on 1 Dec 1976.

1991 – Pursuant to RA 6975 which separated the PC/INP from AFP thus making it a separate Bureau under the DILG, Philippine National Police (PNP) was created and the PC/INP Finance Center was then renamed as Philippine National Police Finance Center.

1993 – Pursuant to NAPOLCOM Resolution 92-36 dated 14 Oct 1992, the PNP Finance Center was renamed PNP Finance Service effective 1 Jan 1993. To date, this organization carries with it the name: PNP Finance Service.
It has five (5) divisions: Disbursement; Revenue and Collection; Financial Information Management Division; Administrative; and Audit & Control.

2010 – Pursuant to NAPOLCOM Resolution # 2010 – 210 , the Restructuring of the PNP Finance Service was approved on August 9, 2010 to which it shall composed the following:
Command Group:

1.  Director - Police Chief Superintendent
2.  Deputy Director for Administration - Police Senior Superintendent
3.  Deputy Director for Financial Management Non- (NUP) Director I (SG 25)
4. Chief of Staff - Police Senior Superintendent

In the same website, here are the functions of the unit:

GENERAL FUNCTIONS
·         Disbursement
·         Collection
·         Remittance

SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS
·         Maintain and supervise the operations of the Modified Disbursement Scheme (MDS) account for offices in the PNP;
·         Coordinate with other offices/units concerning the preparation and distribution of the pay and allowances of uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of the PNP;
·         Process and settle claims for pay and allowances/salaries, travel expenses and retirement benefits/commutation of leave of retired PNP personnel;
·         Maintain financial records of the pay and allowances of uniformed and non-uniformed personnel and other PNP obligations;
·         Supervise and/or recommend the training, assignment, designation, transfer and relief of finance/disbursing officers, collecting officers, agent officers/tellers and their immediate bonding;
·         Recommend policies regarding procedures in the disbursement and accounting of PNP funds;
·         Implement plans, policies, rules and regulations governing disbursement and collection of funds for the PNP;
·         Conduct training of PNP personnel for respective assignment to finance units in various PNP units;
·         Provide technical support and assistance to PNP units on matters pertaining to financial management;
·         Conduct studies and research to upgrade and enhance the effectiveness of PNP units on matters pertaining to financial management, and
·         Perform such other functions as the Chief, PNP may direct.

Finance Service Objectives:

·         Full Implementation  of Finance Service Data Management System (FSDMS)
o   100% Enrolled in ATM for payment of Salary and Allowances
o   100% Enrolled in Salary Deduction and Loans Information System (SDLIS)
o   100% Compliance on Substituted Filing of IT

·         FS Controlled Salary System

Here is the organizational chart of the unit:





Examining the history vis a vis the organizational chart and current objectives of the unit, it cannot be denied that it still plays a critical role in the organization.  But reading closely, one cannot help but ask, "how will all the tansan tansan of police schoolings be useful in any of these jobs?  How will being an airborne ranger, SCOUT, multi medalist for gallantry and bravery be of use in being a finance officer?  And for the jaded people like me who had seen many of these finance guys assume field command positions such as City and Provincial Directors after enriching themselves in the Finance Service, the critical question is, “how do these jobs in the finance service prepared these people to become field commanders?”

This installment in this series of articles will not strictly call for the total abolition of the Finance Service but rather its restructuring into a unit run by NUPs.  For what do policemen have to do with the computation of retirement benefits of their colleagues?  The rules are etched in stone and all the Finance people have to do is follow these rules and disburse money to whom it is due.  If the Finance people insist in staying in that unit, no problem.  But the status of the unit should be made similar to the IAS:  once you get in, you cannot return to the mainstream and be a field officer anymore.  And rightly so.  What experience in the Finance Service prepares you to become a provincial director supervising a thousand policemen running after the criminals, presenting cases in court, interfacing with local government officials, and many other field duties?

Actually, the reason why the Finance Service continued to be a behemoth that it is now is that, in recent times, it had acquired a different kind of relevance:  it became the instrument of the Chief PNP in stealing organizational funds and laundering this stolen money.  Computing how much money that can be had in this unit based on the annual budget of the organization is easy.  The annual PNP budget is around P50 billion and at a rate of just 10% corruption, then the P10B allegedly stolen by Napoles in the course of 10 years is but peanuts compared to the proceeds of the systemic and organized corruption in the PNP.  Using my pulis mateks mateks, 10% of P50B is a cool P5B.  And this is just computed at 10% corruption rate when the actual running rate now is P30%.  At P5B annually, it roughly translates into P400M a month or more than P10M per day.  Thus the rumor that the allowance of the Chief PNP from the DC is P1M per day is very, very much doable and realistic with so much to spare...

If the BRILLIANT LAWMAKERS are not aware of it yet, the Napoles system is nothing new in the AFP and the PNP.  Actually it originated in the AFP and is as old as your lolo sa tuhod and it is called CONVERSION.  I have previously discussed these methods in my earlier articles which you can find here:

http://pulisnapogi.blogspot.com/2011/01/pnp-admits-breach-in-discipline.html
http://pulisnapogi.blogspot.com/2011/02/angelo-reyes.html

This is the current forte of the Directorate for Comptrollership and its operating unit the Finance Service.  The blueprint of this method in the AFP (which is the same with the PNP) was obviously carried over by Napoles to the civilian sector starting in the DOTC when the head was a guy named Leandro Mendoza who used a certain Dominador Reyes as his pointman.  Will you be surprised if I will tell you that both were retired police generals?  Mendoza is PMA Class 69 and Reyes is his classmate whom he appointed as DOTC assistant secretary for finance and comptrollership.

And the PNP scam methods crossed over to the DOTC.

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 4c – Deactivation or Reorganization of Outdated NSUs (HPG)

Highway Patrol Group is another unit ripe for deactivation.  Formerly it was named Traffic Management Group, showing that in the naming alone, there is already confusion as to what exactly is its work.  For me, they are formerly the Trigger Men Group and now they are the Highway Patong Group.

In 2008, this article appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080528-139396/TMG-is-now-Highway-Patrol

The Philippine National Police's Traffic Management Group (TMG) has been renamed to PNP Highway Patrol Group.  The renaming of the police unit was based on a recommendation of the PNP leadership after the PNP unit was stripped of its traffic management duties during the term of former PNP Chief Oscar Calderon, the National Police Commission said Wednesday.

"The Traffic Management Group has become a misnomer since traffic management has been given to the MMDA [Metro Manila Development Authority], said PNP Spokesman Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome.  Bartolome said the new unit will now focus on anti-carnapping, highway robbery and hi-jacking incidents.  Napolcom Personnel and Administrative Service chief Isidro Siriban said the move was aimed at addressing the misconception that the functions of the said unit merely duplicate and overlap the functions of the Traffic Enforcement Groups of the Metro Manila Development Authority and the different local police units.

Former Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Reynaldo Berroya also revoked the deputization of the PNP-TMG from enforcing traffic rules and LTO regulations because of alleged complaints from motorists of extortion by personnel of the unit.

In the current website of its PIO, it describes itself as:  Highway Patrol Group (HPG) is one of the operational units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that ensures the safe and secure travel of our people especially the motorists along the country's highways and major thoroughfares.




 At this stage, one is wont to ask, "Ano ba talaga koya?"

And oh, is that job description still really a job of the PNP?  The website mentioned safety and security.  But how do we define safety and security, especially in the context of land transportation in the highways and major thoroughfares?  In this perspective, it is obvious that safety and security goes beyond removing carnappers, holduppers, and snatchers in the highways.  And this is actually recognized by the HPG:  rarely can you see HPG men patrolling the streets looking for holduppers and snatchers.  And most of the time, their efforts against carnappers are in the context of enforcing of RA 4136 otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines.  But once again, is this really the job of the police?

Let us examine the law.  Republic Act 4136 in Section 4.d.7 that states:

(7) The Philippine Constabulary and the city and municipal police forces are hereby given the authority and the primary responsibility and duty to prevent violations of this Act, and to carry out the police provisions hereof within their respective jurisdiction: Provided, That all apprehensions made shall be submitted for final disposition to the Commissioner and his deputies within twenty-four hours from the date of apprehension.

And the following section further clarifies this mandate:

(8) All cases involving violations of this Act shall be endorsed immediately by the apprehending officer to the Land Transportation Commission. Where such violations necessitate immediate action, the same shall be endorsed to the traffic court, city or municipal court for summary investigation, hearing and disposition, but in all such cases, appropriate notices of the apprehensions and the dispositions thereof shall be given to the Commissioner of Land Transportation by the law-enforcement agency and the court concerned.

Looking at the above provisions, it is clear that while the then PC and its descendant PNP, were primarily tasked in carrying out the police provisions (what is that anyway) of RA 4136, all their actions must still be submitted to the Commissioner for FINAL disposition and with the time limit of only 24 hours.  In this scenario, the PNP is nothing but a second fiddle to the LTO.  In 2008, then LTO Chief Reynaldo Berroya, who ironically is a former PC and PNP officer, revoked the deputation of the PNP effectively removing its power to enforce PA 4136.

And the LTO is not even absolute in the its mandate.  In Metro Manila, there is the MMDA that is promulgating its own traffic rules and regulations taking its powers from Republic Act 7924 specifically sections 2 and 3 which in part states:

(2) The MMDA shall perform planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, and in the process exercise regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of metro-wide services within Metro Manila without diminution of the autonomy of the local government units concerning purely local matters.

(3) Transport and traffic management which includes the formulation, coordination and monitoring of policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize the existing transport operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares, and promotions of safe and convenient movement of persons and goods: provision for the mass transport system and the institution of a system to regulate road users; administration and implementation of all irerhe enforcement operations, traffic engineering services and traffic education programs, including the institution of a single ticketing system in Metropolitan Manila.

And this is just but justified, in my point of view.  The idea of traffic management being removed from the duties of the police had come to age.  This is because modern traffic management is composed of the Es of traffic.  Various models postulate variances on the number of Es.  There were theories saying 3Es, Engineering, Education, and Enforcement while other theories add Environment, and other Es.  Nevertheless, almost all models start with the three basic Es which invariably start with Engineering.  The University of the Philippines has a whole center under the college of engineering devoted to this discipline.  Thus the big question:  what has the PNP got to do with traffic engineering?  The second E, which stands for Education, also presents the same challenge.  Together with its regulatory powers drawn from RA 4136, traffic education appears to be the last bastion of the LTO.  This is one area that the LTO should be in the forefront—and this has nothing to do with the police.  The last E, standing for enforcement, is one thing that remained for the PNP, as mandated by law.  But in this area, the PNP is not even the primary responsible.  As explained above, the PNP plays second fiddle to the LTO and PNP personnel needs to be deputized by the LTO to enforce RA 4136.  How many times that we heard over the radio that a cop is being berated by the Tulfo brothers for apprehending a motorist while not being deputized?  In most cases, the LTO and the superiors of these unfortunate policemen side with the Tulfos.  Now whether it is because of the law or their fear of the Tulfos is debatable.  One thing is sure though:  the PNP has no inherent power to print their own OVR, TOP, or any kind of traffic citation ticket and depends on another agency to have this power.

Against this backdrop, what remains of the PNP tasks and mandate?  The renaming of the TMG to HPG was ostensibly done to address with unsync.  Now, the HPG boasts to be in the forefront of the fight against carnappers.  But I thought according to their website, their mandate is to ensure safe and secure travel of people?  But even then, granting that carnapping is their primary concern, that job is basically an intelligence driven investigation where the most critical segment is the intelligence build up.  The interdiction can be done by the regular units.  Thus how do riding boots and ten gallon hats contribute to this job? 

One of the latest photos posted in its website is,





Here, the PNP is again nakikipag agawan ng trabaho sa LTO.  It was the LTO that was mandated by law.  It is clear in Section 10 of RA 10586, the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 that states:

SEC. 10. Deputation. – The LTO may deputize traffic enforcement officers of the PNP, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and cities and municipalities in order to enforce the provisions of this Act.
 
So why insist on a job that another agency is primarily responsible?  Dahil may extra income?  Bayaan mo na ang Flying Squad ng LTO na gumawa nyan.  Anyway feeling pulis naman sila e.




 On the other claimed job of HPG which is the fight against carnappers and criminals, googling “TMG shootout” and “HPG shootout” returns  numerous bungles that this unity have figured in.  The most infamous are the gangland style execution of the "Valley Verde Boys" in Ortigas Ave led by the equally infamous dismissed PSupt Hansel Marantan in 2008 and the Paranaque shootout, also in 2008 that resulted in the death of a father and his daughter.  In both cases, HPG claimed that they are in a fight against carnappers.  Earlier this year, the HPG office in Cebu was raided by the NBI armed with a search warrant.  Several of its officers were suspected to be behind the ambush-killing of a lawyer.  Here is the link to the story:  http://www.philstar.com/cebu-news/2014/03/21/1303424/pnps-task-force-archival-nbi-disagree-patrol-group-cops-suspect-slay



Without a clear sense of direction, the HPG will continue to produce people and operations like Marantan and the numerous botched encounters that they figured in resulting in unjustified deaths of suspects and civilians alike.

It is time to pull down the curtain...

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Nancy and Ted Failon...

This article was written in the aftermath of the kotong operations of QCPD Cops busted by the PNP spokesman and another incident where the son of NCRPO Director Espina was victimized.  Here are the links to the stories:

‘Kotong’ cops get a scare from PNP’s Sindac



Unlucky pick: 2 QC cops target Metro Manila police chief's son for 'kotong'

==============================
The case of PO1 Ronaldo Englis, PO1 Ronald Mansibang, and PO1 Lucky dela Pena is nothing new in QCPD circles or the NCRPO policemen in general—nor the making out in cars.

Let me start the discussion with the making out in the car as many of you manyaks out there are definitely interested, for most likely, you have also done this yourself (Thinkers are doers!  Hah!).  Though I cannot support this claim with empirical data, I believe that hundreds of these cases happen daily all over Metro Manila and the rest of the world!  This is called "necking" by NCRPO policemen, ostensibly with the same origins as "petting."  This is sometimes coded as "NANCY" from the phonetic equivalent of letter N.

Do you still remember that news article a while back about the high incidence of STDs among call center agents?  It was disclosed in the same study that most of the transmissions happen when partners make out in cars their cars during coffee breaks where the use of condoms and hygiene is an issue.  Likewise, in big private establishments with secured parking such as the international financial company in the corner of Ortigas and EDSA and the airports and seaports, among the favorite pastimes of security officers monitoring the CCTVs is looking for rocking cars hosting quickie sessions of lovers having their quickie trysts.  Especially in THAT international financial company, married foreign expats love (with all the pun intended) to make out with their equally married local clerks, giving justice to the joke definition of a “happily married couple:  one husband out with another man’s wife.”  Heck, even the UP police for so long a time reports this activity right inside UP grounds and the security guards of Ateneo are not far behind.  And Camp Crame guards too!  There was even a time when an undercover TV show (i think it was Imbestigodor or XXX) documented the trysts of two lovers regularly making out in a school bus parked in a community basketball court after the children are dropped off to school.

Why is making out in the car seem to be a fad (if you haven’t noticed it yet)?  Well for some, it is just for the pure thrill of it.  This is so for a very well known politician in Quezon City.  I remember in one freewheeling informal huntahan before the start of a meeting, the topic veered towards this phenomenon of making out and the police kotong activities that befell on some unlucky ones.  This guy jokingly related a personal experience wherein he was surprised one night by members of QCPD while he was busy making out with his girlfriend.  When the cops recognized him, they profusely apologized and attempted to leave.  He proudly related that instead of allowing the policemen to leave, he gave them 2K and told them to stay around and guard his car while he finished his quickie!  Hahaha!

The reasons of people making out in cars are varied from practical to flimsy.  Actually, these reasons determine the hotspots where these activities were being made and veteran policemen know what kind of people they will encounter in the various areas where these happen.  The sharp policeman is also accurate in reading the chance of a successful kotong operation.

The common denominator why the Espina and Sindac cases turned out to be a disaster kotong case for the policemen is not really the fact that the victims know a high ranking police official but rather, the misreading of the policemen of their intended victims, just like Cedric Lee and company misread Vhong Navarro.  They did not consider the possibility that their victims might call their bluff and be “forced to good.”  In both the Espina and Sindac cases, the intended victims were single youngsters—a red flag for the “matalas” na pulis.  Aside from the very real possibility that these kids are still palamunin or at the very least “subsidized” by their parents, there is that high probability that these people are single and unattached, thus may not be really afraid of the most common threat of cops:  exposure, especially to the media.  Thus aside from the difficulty in shelling out the money which they may not have in the first place, these youngsters are actually more susceptible to vocally and vehemently fight for their rights.

Cops know this very well:  there are people who are very much willing to pay under the right circumstances, especially if the cop simply does his job and stumbles upon them in a very compromising situation.  The most common example of this usually happens in upscale but non-gated communities such as Greenmeadows in QC, Gracepark in Caloocan, the open subdivisions in San Juan and the likes.  In these areas, a very common modus operandi of bosses having illicit relations with their househelps is to ask the latter to run errands, with them waiting in a predetermined area.  And this is not only about the male bosses doing hanky panky with their female househelp ha.  The biggest “revenue generator” is when the boss is female and the househelp is the male gardener.  Also big money awaits to the apprehending cop if the boss is male and the househelp is again...........the tadadaaaaaan! the male garderner!  Hahahaha!  If you happen to chance upon this pair, money will surely be offered even before you ask for it.  And here is another critical factor mastered by the older cops that these PO1s failed to learn:  correct reading of the limit of the victim.  There is a certain level that an intended victim might be “forced to good.”  At this juncture he/she might say, ok let’s go to the police station and talk about this.  If this happens, the cop knows that the negotiations is about to go zero.  He will avoid this situation if he can help it.  Most of the time, this happens when there is already a demand for the victim to withdraw money from an ATM because the cop is not satisfied with the cash on hand.  During the drive to the bank, there is plenty of time for the intended victim to think and clear his/her head.  And if he/she is able to unload his/her partner, the situation turns to worse for the cop because aside from being an attention bait (imagine a car pulling up to an ATM closely shadowed by a patrol car), the partner may create a scene that the cops will not like.  This is the reason why the more experienced cops settle for what can be found in the car at the moment of greatest confusion:  money, jewelry, and even guns!

For others, there is that reason of practicality.  Oo nga naman, mahal pa ang motel.  Kung taxi driver ka rin lang naman at ang napick up mo ay isang jokards sa Quezon Avenue, e di doon ka na lang sa parking area ng Capitol Medical Center.  P40 lang at sigurado pang hindi pinapasok ng mga pulis!  (Now you get another idea ha!).  This is aside from the fact that there are no motels in QC and the nearest is Sta Mesa if you are in the vicinity of Welcome Rotunda, the Caloocan Strip if you are in Balintawak, the Mariposa in Marcos Hiway in Marikina if you are in Cubao and the Pasig Row if you are in the eastern part of QC.  Sa trapik pa lang, ubos na oras mo.

What is my view on all this hullabaloo?  Well, anyway I look at it, kotong is the most abhorrent thing that a policeman can do.  Forcing a person to shell out money is the height of anarchy.  It is worse than robbery because the cop is supposed to be the vanguard that prevents anarchy.  But what if I am a cop who chanced upon a couple having sex in a car?  And mind you, I already have and seen almost all kinds of pairs there is possible.  The thing that I did was advise the couple to get dressed and get out of the area because their car might be carjacked from them.  This advice is very true and valid because there is that real possibility that carjackers may chance upon them and take away their car especially if they are in a dimly lit portion of the road.  When I do this, especially if they see me jotting down their plate numbers in the patrol car log book (hehehe), I need not demand anything.  Almost automatically, money is offered.  If it is “payat,” I simply flatly refuse it and tell the person to just keep it and not bother.  If it is substantial, I flash my most sheepish smile and tell him, “Nakupo baka bukas magreklamo pa po kayo.  Wag na lang.”  In both instances, believe me, may utang na loob pa sa akin ang tao pag tinanggap ko ang pera nya.  And mind you, I have made real friends from many of these instances ha.  There even comes a time later na nagpapagtawanan namin pag naisip namin kung paano kami unang nagkakilala.  Alam nila ang tunay na nangyari...

Is this kotong?  Well, definitely this is not something that you can brag about.  But on the other hand, is there a prohibition on this?  You do a good job, somebody gives you a tip.  Is that bad?  The closest that the law addresses this situation is in several articles of RA 3019 and several sections of NMC 2007-001 but most of these provisions do not address this situation squarely.  Let me clarify that this is entirely different from when you chance upon a person and there is an obligation for you to effect an arrest and you did not, such as when you found drugs in the possession of a person and you did not arrest him because he gave you money.  This is a grave offense defined under serious irregularities in the performance of a duty.  But in the situation where you chance upon a couple making out in a car?  Are you mandated to make an arrest?  Actually the most that you can do is to verify the identities of the persons by asking for valid identification cards and the ownership of the car.  And this is just an option actually.  Unless the car is not tinted and the people inside are plainly visible while doing their thing thereby making the act scandalous, I don’t think that there are valid grounds for police to detain them.  But what about from the viewpoint of the persons chanced upon?  Most of time, they know that what they are doing is wrong—not so much about being against the law but rather against their respective spouses.  And this is where the potential for money being offered comes in.  This was absent in both the Espina and Sindac cases, and both cases ended in disaster for the policemen.

If it happened to other people, it would have a totally different ending.  Ask Ted Failon…

Hahahaha!