Slow pace of criminal justice system favors the crooks

October 03, 2019

BEFORE proceeding, here’s saying that it is “good to be back,” after our 10-day ‘familiarization visit’ to China, which by the way, celebrated its 70th anniversary as the ‘New China,’ last Tuesday, October 1.

As previously mentioned, yours truly was part of a select group of journos invited to see and experience how is life in this communist-run country, an experience that I’ll summed up for now as, “nakakainggit!”

But given the many local developments, I decided to devote my next pieces to that visit and for the moment focus my attention primarily to the ongoing probe at the Senate as regards the abuses of the ‘good conduct time allowance’ (CGTA) law for imprisoned convicts that has veered off, last Tuesday, on the (still) rotten state of our police organization.

For any student and practitioner of public administration, this rottenness can be traced, ultimately, to the “more” decrepit state of our criminal justice system.

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The continuation of the Senate hearing on police corruption centered on the group of the so-called ‘13 Ninja cops’ is yet to begin while I was typing this yesterday.

However, the “general outline,” so to speak, as to why they remain in active service—despite being recommended for dismissal in early 2014—has become apparent in last Tuesday’s hearing superbly handled (once again) by Sen. Richard ‘You-Know-Me’ Gordon.

First, they would commit a crime of despicable proportion—conducting an illegal anti-drug operation (without coordination with the local police and the PDEA) at a house of a Chinese “drug lord,” (‘Johnson Lee’), “cleaning up” his residence of everything worth taking—illegal drugs (200 kilos of shabu), vehicles (at least 2 SUVs) and money (more than P10 million cash) and then, “negotiating” for the suspect’s “release” for another P50 million.

But aware that such illegal operation, conducted in broad daylight, cannot be hidden, they came ready with their own “scripted” scenario to earn public applaud and the commendation of their own provincial director, then P/Col. Oscar Albayalde, which is:

That they conducted a “buy-bust operation” that resulted to the confiscation of some 38 kilos of shabu and the arrest of the supposed drug lord—who, it turned out, is no longer Johnson Lee, but another Chinese national that they “grabbed” right inside the comfort of his own house (Clark) located kilometers away from the supposed “scene of the crime” in Mexico, Pampanga.

However, that their criminal conspiracy was subsequently unmasked leading to their being recommended for dismissal from the service several months later is also proof that there are still PNP officials who would not tolerate such bestiality in their organization.

But there, the effort to rid the PNP of criminal elements stopped—and where the weaknesses of our own criminal justice system and the “kabaro culture” in the PNP “took over”— in their favor.

For as what we have learned last Tuesday, both the administrative and criminal cases against these Ninja cops were apparently allowed to “hibernate” both at the regional police office and in Camp Crame for several years since they were ordered dismissed in 2014.

And when it was finally determined that the “time has come” for their cases to be decided, which  is more than two years later (2016), they were not dismissed but instead given a one-rank demotion, a penalty that is not commensurate to the gravity of the crimes they have committed.

Translation, dear readers? Lumalabas na “sinadya” na “patulugin” ang kanilang mga kaso at nung “tahimik na ang tabakuhan”—nung nawala na sa kanilang ginawang mga krimen ang atensyon ng media at publiko at nawala na rin sa puwesto ang mga opisyal na nagrekomendang sibakin sila sa serbisyo—ibinasura ang parusang tanggalin sila sa PNP at “pinalitan” nang “mas magaan” na parusa, yeheyy!

But of course, it is not only this “kabaro culture” at the PNP, where, as Sen. Dick pointed out, everyone tends to protect their own fellow policemen—no matter how crooked they may be— that is to blame.

The DoJ, which is mandated to make an “automatic review” of all decided cases on illegal drugs involving law enforcers, is also to blame because it failed to do this mandate on time. Hanggang ngayon nga, wala pa pala silang desisyon, hehehe, ayy, huhuhu!

Thus, now Chief PNP Oscar Albayalde, the immediate superior officer at the time of these criminal policemen, is on his right in chiding the DoJ over the department’s taking its own sweet time in discharging its legal obligation on this matter.

Now, “studying” this case closely, we would see that “on the surface,” everything appears “beautiful,” so to speak:

One, that the PNP has its own internal mechanism to identify, ferret out and remove from the service its erring members, especially those involved in illegal drugs.

And second, if only to ensure that whatever “aregluhan” transpired at the PNP level would be foiled, the DoJ, as the final deciding authority, would have the last word on the matter.

But our nation’s bad luck is that on both levels, the system failed. And unless immediately remedied, expect to see a repetition of this sorry narrative to come out time and time again.
Of course, the crucial element connecting these failures is simply, “time.”

It took a far longer time for our criminal justice system to render its final judgement.

And in between, there was sufficient time for people to become “forgetful” (Filipinos are notorious of this character defect).
In between too, there is also sufficient time for the suspects to wield their influence in the entire process, particularly thru their “connections” in their own organization, the PNP, and of course, thru the millions in dirty money they earned from their criminal enterprise.

Translation? The slow pace of our criminal justice system favors the crooks. Now, this leads us to ask the question:
How many more organized groups of Ninja cops are still out there, by the way? Abangan!