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Sunday, July 21, 2024

How Casio shields the guilty in PAOCC’s latest scandal

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“This evasion prevents any meaningful accountability and reform within Casio’s own organization, perpetuating a cycle of incompetence and negligence”

In a nation struggling with systemic corruption and inefficiency, the actions and statements of Winston Casio, the spokesperson for the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), reveal a troubling pattern of blame deflection and evasiveness.

Following the June 4, 2024, raid on the Lucky South 99 Outsourcing Corporation in Porac, Pampanga, Casio’s public comments expose not just the failings of his own organization, but a wider culture of finger-pointing that serves to obscure true accountability.

Casio’s criticism of Judge Maria Belinda Rama, who issued and then quickly withdrew the search warrant, is a glaring example of this tactic.

By casting aspersions on the judiciary and suggesting possible corruption without concrete evidence, Casio avoids acknowledging any potential oversights or procedural errors made by the PAOCC in securing the warrant.

The judge’s decision to withdraw the warrant was based on clear legal technicalities – the specificity required in describing the place to be searched and items to be seized.

Yet, rather than addressing these legitimate concerns, Casio chooses to imply judicial corruption, thereby sidestepping any admission of the PAOCC’s own shortcomings.

Moreover, Casio’s insinuations about an information leak within the PAOCC or the court system further illustrate his strategy of deflecting blame.

By vaguely hinting at “penetration” of government levels by corrupt elements, he avoids a thorough investigation into the PAOCC’s internal controls and safeguards against such leaks.

This evasion prevents any meaningful accountability and reform within his own organization, perpetuating a cycle of incompetence and negligence.

Casio also targets PAGCOR, the local gaming authority, suggesting corruption due to the continued licensing of Lucky South despite previous reports of illegal activities.

His vague accusations serve to direct scrutiny away from the PAOCC’s procedural lapses and towards another government body.

This pattern of casting wide aspersions without specific evidence detracts from the possibility of any real introspection or reform within the PAOCC.

Yet, amidst these accusations, there is a conspicuous silence regarding Roberto Cruz, the landowner of the compound raided by the PAOCC.

This silence is deafening and telling.

In similar incidents globally, landowners have frequently been found complicit or at least negligent in allowing illegal activities to flourish on their properties.

For instance, in the United States, landlords have been prosecuted for failing to prevent or report criminal activities on their premises.

The potential for negligence on the part of Cruz is immense, ranging from turning a blind eye to dubious activities, failing to perform due diligence on tenants, or even actively colluding with criminal operations for financial gain.

Yet, Casio conveniently omits any criticism of Cruz, raising questions about the selective nature of his blame.

The ramifications of such selective criticism and evasion are far-reaching.

When officials like Casio focus on deflecting blame rather than addressing internal failings, they perpetuate a system where true accountability is never achieved.

This tactic not only shields the PAOCC from necessary scrutiny but also fails the public, who deserve a transparent and effective government.

In countries like South Korea and Singapore, government accountability and rigorous enforcement of laws have been key in maintaining low levels of corruption and high public trust.

The Philippines must take note and implement reforms that ensure no government body, including the PAOCC, can evade scrutiny.

This starts with thorough investigations into all parties involved, including landowners like Roberto Cruz, to uncover any negligence or complicity in illegal activities.

It is imperative for the Philippine government to reform its systems of accountability.

The PAOCC, along with other implicated bodies, must undergo stringent audits and procedural reviews.

Any violations or lapses uncovered during such investigations should lead to prosecution, regardless of the positions or connections of those involved.

Casio’s statements reflect a dangerous culture of blame deflection that must be addressed head-on.

True reform will only come when every level of negligence is scrutinized, and those responsible are held accountable.

This is not just about one raid or one spokesperson; it is about the integrity of the entire system of governance.

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