PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Oscar Albayalde and his men deserve all the praises they can get not only for immediately solving the case of murdered lawmaker Rodel Batocabe and his bodyguard in a record 12 days but most importantly, for seeing to it that there will be a major reduction in crimes nationwide last year apart from ensuring that the country will peacefully welcome 2019.
Special mention goes to the officers and men responsible for solving the Batocabe case namely the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group headed by soon-to-be Police Director Amador Corpus, the PNP Intelligence Group now headed by a shy but hardworking Senior Supt. Edgar Monsalve --an officer whom it say really deserves to be the new PNP-IG chief and the Police Regional Office 5 under Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal.
The quick solution of the Batocabe case is a proof that the PNP won’t run out of good investigators who can crack even the toughest case of them all. Add to it the full-court press applied by the PNP on the suspects who were forced to yield and spill out the beans on the real mastermind and of course, the special attention given to the case by President Duterte and the House of Representatives leading to the P50 million reward for anybody who could give the information that would lead to the killers and their mastermind.
Now that the suspects have been unmasked, the next thing that the PNP should do is to ensure that there will be an air-tight case filed based on pure evidence and witnesses’ testimonies. The PNP needs to be sure that it won’t end up as another ‘referred for further investigation’ case with the prosecutor ordering the release of the suspects for technical reasons like what happened to countless major cases in the past.
As DILG Secretary Ed Año had said, they can withdraw the mayor’s authority over the local police for abuse of authority, oppression, and misconduct in office. The former Armed Forces chief of staff maintained that the breakthrough in the Batocabe case occurred because of relentless police investigation and intelligence operations and vowed to “apply this standard in all possible acts of ‘political terrorism’ in connection with the forthcoming elections.”
The DILG chief said that as ordered by the President, the DILG-PNP will run after all those who will resort to “political terrorism” like ordering the death of their opponents to ensure their hold on political power. . He said that their moves should serve as a stern warning against all politicians not to intimidate, harass, or do violence against their political opponents in the May polls since police will run after them to ensure that justice will be served.
These armed groups—apart from the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf Group and other lawless elements in the country specifically in Mindanao—are the reason why killings, ambuscades, arson attacks and harassments mar every conduct of election in the country.
Gen. Albayalde was on the right track when he stripped Mayor Carlwin Baldo, the accused ‘brains’ in the murder of Batocabe as well as Iloilo Representative Oscar ‘Richard’ Garin Jr. and his father, Guimbal, Iloilo Mayor Oscar Garin of their firearms’ licenses and Permits-to-Carry-Firearms Outside of Residence amid their involvement in cases which shocked the whole country.
Apart from that, the 3 were ordered stripped of their policemen-bodyguards while both Mayors Baldo and Garin found themselves minus their power or deputation over their respective police forces. It’s really very hard for a politician who has been used to having heavily-armed bodyguards and a cache of licensed weapons under their disposal to leave their home or office without any armed protection.
How can he campaign in a far-flung area with no security, with the local police shying away from him due to his abusive act and with the police watching any of his wrong move to arrest him? All a politician stripped of his firearm and bodyguard can do is to hire a Protective Security Personnel which is not so easy to do due to the many requirements he has to comply with specially now that the election period is coming.
Look at the case of the Garins: after being accused of mauling a cop in Iloilo and spitting on his face, the 2 were forced to surrender 16 of their licensed firearms to the Police Regional Office 6 headed by my friend, Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao. Last Tuesday, Rep. Garin’s political officer also turned over to the San Juan City police 2 more of his weapons.
The 2 Garins were also stripped of their police bodyguards after being accused of manhandling a cop and even spitting on the face of the latter while Mayor Baldo was also stripped of his PTCFOR and 4 firearms licenses by Gen. Albayalde.
Gen. Albayalde hit the nail right on the head when he declared last Thursday: This is a victory of the rule of law in this country. This is also a stern warning against those unscrupulous politicians who will resort to violence to gain elected position. The long arm of the law will eventually catch up on you.”
ELEAZAR IS DZRH MAN OF THE YEAR.
Apart from Gen. Albayalde, another PNP official who really made a mark among Filipinos last year is NCRPO chief, Director Gilor Eleazar. The tireless Eleazar, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 was voted Man of the Year during a nationwide survey conducted by DZRH.
It turned out that 61.5 percent of DZRH radio and TV listeners as well as other people surveyed by their correspondents voted Eleazar as their Man of the Year eclipsing other people and agencies including PAGASA, Sen. Ping Lacson and the NDRRMC.
Just like Gen. Albayalde when he was still the Metro Manila police chief, Eleazar has proven himself as an ‘Action Man’ who can readily be relied upon by the public 24/7, thus the high public satisfaction rating given to the NCRPO and the PNP. Congratulations to Generals Albayalde and Eleazar.