Tuesday, November 07, 2006
CAMP ALAGAR, Cagayan de Oro City (MIKE BAÑOS / Nov 6) – Presidential Assistant for Police Affairs Sec. Orlando A. Macaspac today challenged Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. to professionalize the appointments and promotions of senior police officials to help improve the performance of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Pimentel earlier expressed alarm over the PNP’s admission that police efficiency in the country is declining by 3.9 percent every year and index crimes are on the rise.
Pimentel said this trend validates a United Kingdom study made by the Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) which was published Nov. 2 that lists the Philippines among the worst performers in terms of access to law enforcement. Among over 20 countries covered by the study, the Philippines ranks third, the first being Israel and second, Thailand, as the worst in terms of failing to uphold the standards of legal protection for citizens, as well as law enforcement.
Macaspac said the senator can immediately help rectify this situation by repealing that portion of the Local Government Code drawn up by Pimentel himself which gives local government officials the option to refuse the appointment of a city, provincial or municipal police director in their respective localities.
“Paano kung gusto ng chief executive na may jueteng sa kanyang territoryo at pumalag ang kanyang chief of police?” Macaspac asked media at the PNP-PRO-10 headquarters here. “Kawawa naman ang pulis! During the time of DILG Sec. Joey Lina, I asked him why not also make an example of such local government officials by sacking them?”
Macaspac appealed to media to help rally support for the amendment of this law to enable the PNP’s Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board (SOPPB) to ‘depoliticize’ the appointment, transfer and promotion of senior police officials from the influence and patronage of local government officials.
“There is no country in this world that can police every citizen,” Macaspac told a general assembly of PRO-10 officers and personnel. “Strenghten your resolve, matuto tayo sa eksperyensiya.”
“I learned by bitter personal experience when I was still in the PNP,” he added. “I am proud to say I am an INC member, and I suffered all the punishment of an LGU official if he did not get what he wanted from me.”
Despite this, Macaspac was promoted to star rank only 15 months after his promotion as a full colonel in the former PC/INP. He ended his police career as commanding general of South Capcom or the Southern Police Command covering the cities of Manila, Makati, Pasay, Paranaque, Pateros, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas and Taguig.
Together with PRO-10 Regional Director Chief Supt. Florante Baguio, Macaspac also presented to media two of the most wanted persons in Region 10 who were nabbed by elements of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (COCPO) last November 3, 2006 and personally awarded the recognition of PRO-10 officers and enlisted personnel who were instrumental in their arrest.
The SSN report also showed that the Philippines is followed by Russia in the top three countries that fail to afford their citizens “statutory protection” and unbiased “law enforcement.”
It said police authorities in the Philippines are engaged in “communications intercepts” like Greece, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, United States, Poland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Malaysia and China.
“The implication of this report is that the country is already under ‘Big Brother’ police surveillance even without the Anti-Terror Bill of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile,” Pimentel said.
“I also received a report, unverified at this point, that the money raised by the government through the Venable contract has been used to buy ‘3 GSM interceptors’. The interceptors are reportedly the most sophisticated bugging machines money can buy today,” the minority leader said.
“I fear that the resources of the country are being misapplied to keep some people in power at all costs and intimidate the rest into existence as automatons.”
Pimentel stressed anew the need for full debates on the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act, being sponsored by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to ensure that the civil liberties of the people are adequately safeguarded.
“I will move to amend the Enrile bill based on the experience of other countries especially the United Kingdom,” he said. “I want to delete provisions in the bill that might be abused by the authorities and perhaps shorten the period of detention and provide for alternative ways of restricting movements of suspects.” (with a report from Omeng Manlangit)