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PNP publicity and promotions

CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - January 8, 2021 - 12:00am

The official and polite term used was “returned for further investigation” but in reality the decision of the Makati City prosecutor on the Dacera death case was “Returned for better investigation” to correct all the short cuts and shortcomings that the Makati police committed in their rush to file charges and erroneous declaration that the case was solved. I’ll leave it to the prosecutors to address the lack of certain tests or investigative procedures related to the case, but in terms of conclusions and pronouncements, the actions of those law enforcement officials directly involved in the case, as well as that of PNP Chief Debold Sinas, show a measure of desperation on the part of the PNP to start the year looking good after their 2020 yearend nightmare involving a police officer executing a defenseless mother and son in Tarlac province.

Unfortunately, it goes even further. For the longest time there has been a mindset in the PNP that publicity and promotions go hand in hand, so much so that a number of police investigators and their senior officials think nothing of prematurely announcing facts of the case even before scientific evidence and official reports have been submitted and reviewed. Since day 1, police investigators and officials handling the Dacera case were spewing out “tidbits” and presumptions on the case and as a result even the Chief PNP bit the bait, “hook, line and sinker.” If there is any investigation that needs to be done, it should be about how and why the Makati police and the PNP as a whole have reached bottom in terms of doing proper police work and keeping their mouths shut concerning facts of the case or any case. While it may be the job of reporters to dig up as much information on cases, it is not the job of the PNP to feed them tidbits like zookeepers. No information should be shared until after an official report has been submitted, reviewed, verified and approved by authorities!

Chances are Congress will probably investigate the matter and if so, they should investigate the already “standard practice” of the police to conduct press conferences even for the smallest catch or minor “buy-busts.” Instead of padding their records with news clippings and interviews in aid of possible promotions, PNP officials should be judged based on actual arrests and actual convictions, all based on scientific and professional police work. Yes, the PNP needs to shore up its image but that is not achieved by just solving isolated sensational cases. The image of the PNP should be built on community relations, real and perceived professionalism and respect. Not on promotion by publicity.

Another thing that Congress, the National Police Commission and the PNP Internal Affairs Services should investigate is what has been done administratively about incidents where police investigators and their senior officials have prematurely concluded the outcome of cases, leaked sensitive information to their favorite media contacts or short cut investigation procedures that jeopardized cases such as the Dacera death case. Having bad eggs and scalawags from time to time is unavoidable in any organization, even in churches, but when law enforcers do their jobs with such imprudence and haste, they betray public trust and are not far from committing a reckless miscarriage of justice for the victim as well as those suspected but not yet proven guilty.

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After learning of or reading my column titled “Dito Ba O Dito Ba?” the legal counsel of ROMA Construction Inc. Atty. Aida D. Dizon wrote me an email to address what I mentioned in the article that referred to a company called “ROMA” that was being mentioned by individuals soliciting lock-in fees in exchange for civil works and services for cell sites allegedly for the Telco DITO. Due to space I can only print the pertinent or significant part of the letter:

Dear Mr. Cito Beltran,

We write on behalf of our client, ROMA Construction Inc. (ROMA). In said article, you alleged that a group of persons has been peddling projects for DITO Telco, dropping in the process ROMA as among those reportedly on top of the projects or at the very least connected one way or another with the same. Without necessarily forcing an issue for a motive, we wish to clarify that ROMA has no knowledge of those dealings and in fact has not commissioned anyone to represent the company in offering projects for financial consideration in behalf of DITO.

We find it unfortunate that some people have maliciously been dropping ROMA’s name to carry out their alleged modus of securing lock-in fee from would be contractors in exchange for cell site construction and other civil and structural requirements for DITO. To begin with, ROMA has no current arrangement with said TELCO relative to any of its concerns. More importantly, ROMA has no gate-keeping powers relative to those projects because as a private corporation, ROMA has no mandate to award infrastructure projects in behalf of anyone.

At any rate, we hope you or your source can reach out to ROMA and furnish ROMA the names of those individuals who fiendishly use the company (name) so that ROMA can file the necessary cases, civil and criminal against them.

Very truly yours, Atty. Aida D. Dizon.

(Although Atty. Dizon did not request for her letter to be printed, I took the liberty of doing so as a public service and alert to provincial contractors and engineering firms who might be enticed to pay lock-in fees simply because of the impressive line-up of persons and companies being used and misrepresented by scammers.)

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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