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Criminal syndicate to get a private army?

One of the most surprising albeit unexpected news we ever heard from Congress came from House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas who wants Congress to have its own police force, independent and separate from the Philippine National Police (PNP). This proposal came after the Congressman advised traffic cops against apprehending Congressmen who violate traffic rules. Hmmm, it reminds me of the old saying in high school about members of Congress where we say, “Lawmaker, Law breaker!”

If you ask me, this nation is headed in the wrong direction if we allow Congress to lead the way. While I haven’t heard any remarks from Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte on this issue, but I’ll bet that he would be vehemently against it, except that Duterte still respects the independence of the Legislative branch from the Executive, which is why I doubt if the President would even comment on this issue. But then the security of our Congressmen has never been a problem, except when they violate traffic rules.

Mind you, we are a nation where the ordinary Filipino always looks up to our leaders for the example that they would set before the eyes of the people. That the members of the House of Representatives demand an honorific title called Honorable before their names, gives us the impression that they are a cut and above the ordinary Filipino, hence people like Rep. Fariñas and his ilk believe that they have entitlements over the rest of us.

I dare say that it is time that we stop Congress from creating a police force that is separate and distinct from the PNP. It makes me wonder why isn’t the present security setup for Congress no longer acceptable to Congressmen? If they succeed in making their own police force, I can foresee the day when a congressional police escort would end in a shooting incident over a violation of traffic rules and that’s a very dangerous thing. We might as well allow drug lords their own private army in order to protect themselves from the PNP! It’s bad enough that we have too many private armies still roaming our countryside, now Congress wants to get into the act?

This proposal for their own police force reminds me of what my good friend Tony Lopez wrote in his column in the Manila Times last Aug. 20, 2013 entitled, “Congress is the Philippines’ Biggest Criminal Syndicate.’” Of course that article was a parody of how 24 Senators and 289 Congressmen helped themselves with the P 25 billion of people’s tax money called Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Other lesser criminals have been imprisoned for so much less money while our thieving members of Congress always get away with the loot!

Rep. Fariñas’ House Bill 6208 proposal got the support of Rep. Ruffy Biazon who said that this proposal is a step in ensuring the security of Congress without having to rely on the PNP and military, whose personnel should be focused on performing their original functions. If Rep. Biazon truly believes in this… then I suggest that the PNP or AFP personnel tasked to guard the House of Representatives be immediately withdrawn and returned to their mother units and Congress replace them with ordinary “No ID, No Entry Security Guards” like the rest of us lesser mortals!

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How sad that the ordinary Filipino always look up to their Congressmen or women because of their title or position. Fortunately for us in the media, we look at the members of the House of Representatives as public servants and as such, they do not deserve any special security arrangements. That they already have their PNP detail already connotes that they are a special group. But if these so-called Representatives of the people do their job well, their own constituents would love and respect them. Hence, they won’t need any security at all. So perhaps we ought to suggest that the PNP remove the security detail assigned to them because after all, they are not wanted in the Halls of Congress.

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 One of the biggest surprises that shocked me when I got back home was the unexpected resignation of my good friend, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Rodolfo “Rudy” Salalima who quit as a Cabinet Secretary two weeks ago, citing corruption and interference in his work as his reason for quitting. In a news report, Salalima hinted that he resisted “pressure” and rejected requests for favors.

Knowing Rudy during his years in Globe Telecom where we would have lunches or dinners whenever he comes to Cebu, this was classic Rudy who cannot tolerate corruption in his office. But then, his DICT Office may have a new name, but it came from that old dog called Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), which gives us all an idea that even with a President like Pres. Duterte who wants to change the bureaucracy, nothing much has really changed. Change must come from within! But I’m sad to see Salalima go because I haven’t yet seen him in his office.

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Email: vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com.


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