Political strain is now affecting the PNP
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-03-13
If Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) thinks that all is hunky dory with her and the PNP, she should think again.

“Cops decry Palace ‘meddling’ in special ops” — went the headline of the Inquirer’s Alcuin Papa last March 10. Oddly, only the Inquirer carried the story despite its significance. It marks an unusual development when somebody in the bureaucracy took the Palace inhabitants to task. Rather surprising too because the PNP has acquired lately the image of being GMA’s staunchest supporter.

It appears that the story was leaked in confidence by the PNP intelligence operatives to Alcuin which is why nobody else carried the story. A high trust level is required by intelligence operatives before they entrust sensitive information.

This story emanated from the recent arrest by the PNP intelligence operatives of three suspected members of an Al Qaeda cell whose mission, the PNP said, was to bomb establishments like the US and UK embassies. However, the PNP was caught by surprise when Executive Secretary Eddie Ermita gave a political spin to their official account.

In a forum last week, Eddie Ermita announced that the PNP had arrested members of an Al Qaeda terror cell whose mission included the infiltration of anti-GMA rallies.

Knowing that the GMA regime is often caught with its foot in its mouth, I easily found Eddie Ermita’s assertion quite ridiculous and hard to believe. Infiltrating rallies against GMA is not exactly within the standard operating procedure or order of priorities of Al Qaeda or Jemaah Islamiya (JI). They do not even infiltrate people’s rallies in the US and UK.

Simply put, the Al Qaeda and JI are at war with the US and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan — but it is not at war with the Filipino people.

In fact, I raised that point with Isaac Belmonte, our STAR Editor-in-Chief, and suggested to Isaac that we should challenge that assertion of Ermita. Isaac said it is not important to challenge it since nobody believes it anyway.

This is one of the rare times that a branch of the PNP and the AFP had slammed the Palace outside of the three previous military attempts at mutiny and withdrawal of support. The PNP and the AFP do not usually question pronouncements of Malacanang officials, much less one made by the Executive Secretary — the alter ego of the Commander-in-Chief.

In Alcuin Papa’s article, the PNP intelligence operatives deeply resented the attempt to politicize their work. Alcuin quoted one operative as saying: “Our concern is stamping out terrorism and going after the sleeper cells. But mixing our accomplishments in politics leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

That reaction is of course justified. In our highly toxic political environment, cops will certainly not relish having their hard work tainted by the machinations of the rather unpopular GMA regime and its shadowy characters.

The men in uniform in the AFP and the PNP are officially committed to protect the Filipino people and not the Mafia-like regime that is destroying the moral fabric of the nation. In fact, if their commanders in the PNP and AFP had just a little patriotism, they should be leading the clamor for a meaningful change and reform in our country.

Just recently, I was in an elevator in Makati with a PNP officer. I asked him how things are with them amid the current problems of the country with the GMA regime. “Gulong gulo na po kami. Di na naming alam kung saan papaling.” (“We’re so confused now. We do no know anymore where we are headed.”) was his quick reply.

Now does that grab you as a PNP that is 100% loyal to its chain of command? Does that not sound like a PNP that does not even know if it is following legal orders or a legitimate Commander-in-Chief? Does that not reveal a PNP mind that is on the verge of seeking the truth about who it should really follow, especially now that practically all sectors of society have spoken out against the Commander-in-Chief in question?

Among the uniformed men who bear arms, it is the police who really know the public pulse at ground level. They are the ones who scour the sewers of society and protect us from the predatory criminals. The police see first hand the real effects of poverty and how people who do not want to commit crimes are forced to steal in order to feed their families.

The average policeman for that matter is no better off than the average wage earner. That some of them are linked to “kotong” is because they have had to resort to other means of making a buck in order to nourish and educate their children.

Of course, this tirade against Eddie Ermita has to be taken also in the context of the reported intramurals between Eddie Ermita and DILG Boss Ronnie Puno, with Herr Puno said to be eyeing the post of Eddie Ermita. The PNP complaint I believe is genuine. Herr Puno just allowed it to be published.

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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