There had been comments and reactions on what has been happening at the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines lately in the aftermath of the call of Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos for police generals and colonels to submit their courtesy resignation.
First was the courtesy resignation of PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr., followed by generals and colonels in districts nationwide totalling close to a hundred.
Abalos’ call came from reports that some PNP generals and colonels had links with the proliferation of illegal drugs nationwide.
Abalos had said “we cannot continue fighting illegal drugs when the person behind you shoots you in the back.”
Indeed, the war against illegal drugs will never end when PNP generals and colonels continue to have links with illegal drugs.
First question: Why did Abalos make that call for courtesy resignations?
Yes, illegal drugs continue to proliferate nationwide because some members of the PNP have links to illegal drugs.
And the reason is simple.
Illegal drugs mean big money and everybody knows that Chinese cartels like the Triad and even the Mexican cartel, Sinaloa, are behind it.
If Abalos, who oversees the PNP, were to file charges against suspected generals and colonels believed to have links to illegal drugs, he knows full well that he’ll never succeed since what is needed when one were to file charges against anybody is hard evidence, not mere suspicions and hearsay.
The strategy of Abalos is clearly to accept the courtesy resignation of generals suspected to have links with illegal drugs.
On the other side of the coin is that mere suspicion seems final to many PNP generals and colonels who have been members of the PNP for many years.
That’s where comments that the call of Abalos was ill-advised.
Clearly, what people expected was that if Abalos had any evidence against members of the police force who have links to illegal drugs, just file cases against them.
But, as I said, there is need for hard evidence to pin down anybody who has links to criminal activities.
Abalos has given those suspected of having links with illegal drugs an alternative. They can take a graceful exit and resign gracefully if their cases are weak.
The AFP conundrum is something else, brought about by the appointment of General Andres Centino by President “Bongbong” Marcos to replace General Bartolome Bacarro as AFP Chief of Staff, which is the prerogative of Marcos Jr. as Commander-in-Chief of the AFP.
This led to the irrevocable resignation of Department of National Defense OIC (officer in charge) General Jose Faustino, who claimed he wasn’t consulted, followed by courtesy resignations of military people who were identified with him (Faustino).
According to reports, this led to the issuance of a fake memorandum that there was a destabilization plot within the AFP.
But, why should Faustino be consulted by BBM on the replacement of his “bata” as Chief of Staff when, as Commander-in-Chief, the President has the sole prerogative of appointing whoever he likes within the AFP?
To me, as an observer, this can only reveal a deep-seated problem within the military, the “bata-bata syndrome” higher ups where the loyalty of members of the rank and file is not to the flag but to those who are on top who can promote soldiers.
This, to me, is clearly very dangerous, where the military gets divided because their loyalties are not to the flag but to persons who have given benefits to their favorites.
This practice within the AFP should stop.
To a certain extent, I am glad this conundrum within the AFP has been exposed.
In the case of the PNP, the action of Abalos may be a bit hasty and drastic, but I cannot see any other way to clean up the police and restore once again the people\s faith in the police.
But, in the case of the AFP, it needs unity, not division.
In the case of the PNP, the scheduled lifestyle check is an obvious attempt by Abalos to find out who has ill-gotten wealth and has totally demoralized rank and file.
That, to me, will result in the total breakdown of the efficiency of the PNP, which I am afraid could be another problem.
But, we know that the PNP needs a total cleansing to restore the people’s faith in the police.
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Another conundrum was the total breakdown and glitch of the airspace of incoming flights and departing flights from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the main gateway of domestic and international flights, last New Year’s Day (Jan 1, 2023), which became an international embarrassment of the Philippines affecting no less than 361 air flights and stranding some 65,000 passengers.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines that is supposed to ensure the air space of the Philippine skies used by a circuit breaker, which the Senate and to many could only only be traced to the total incompetence, inefficiency, mismanagement and laxity of the CAAP.
Senate President Migz Zubiri even blamed the CAAP for the laxity, since a vital system like the communication, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (NS/ZTM) system did not even have a CCTV to monitor the system and the equipment, which would likely invite saboteurs.
To me, this is enough to make heads roll in the CAAP.
That’s why I am surprised that Transportation Secretary Jimmy Bautista did not suspend the CAAP officials.
I am also surprised that while the CAAP officials knew that the system was already antiquated, the CAAP did not even bother to have a backup system, nor did they ask for more funds when the Senate deliberated its appropriations to seek funds to update the system, knowing full well that it needs a backup.
Santa Banana, if this international embarrassment happened in Japan or Korea, the CAAP officials would have committed suicide, not merely apologized.
As I said, heads must roll in the CAAP for this monumental international embarrassment.
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Speaking of BBM’s war on illegal drugs, there are those who say that less killings of those involved in illegal drugs, unlike what we had during the incumbency of President Duterte, will not win the war on illegal drugs.
I say the killings and more killings policy of Duterte could only result in a culture of impunity like what we had where “extrajudicial” killings were prevalent.
This caught international attention so much so that the ICC or the International Criminal Court even tried to investigate Duterte for “crimes against humanity.”
Recall that BBM has taken a holistic outlook on the problem of illegal drugs with special emphasis on rehabilitation which constitutes the bigger problem of illegal drugs. President Marcos Jr. realizes the problem of illegal drugs is more on the supply and demand problem, since cartels and drug syndicates know pretty well that so long as there is a demand for illegal drugs nationwide, with some 6 to 7 million drug users and addicts, they are always there to supply the demand.
And that’s precisely what has been happening—there is the continuous supply of illegal drugs like shabu (meth), cocaine, ecstasy and others.
It is for this reason why I commend Senator Christopher Lawrence “ Bong” Go for filing Senate Bill 428 for the building of nationwide rehabilitation centers to fight drug addictions.
But, as I know full well having been involved in drug rehabilitation for some years, just isolating drug users and addicts in rehabilitation centers won’t cure drug addiction, because drug addiction is both a psychological and physiological problem, where those who are addicted build for themselves a shell as it where, which must be broken by competent doctors who know the problem,
These rehab centers must be properly staffed and, more importantly, must be community based because drug users and addicts need the full support of their families.
In any case, Senator Bong Go is on the right path.