A curious dismissal

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

There has always been an intangible friction between the public and the police, often leading to a “damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t” situation for our brave men in uniform. On one hand, limited police visibility and involvement are met with criticisms of being “lax and inefficient.” On the other hand, increased police activity often brings unfounded fears of living within a “rule of terror.”

Thankfully, we can all see that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been taking strides to overcome the people’s aversion to cops. We see it in transparency efforts, community outreach and, for a more recent example, the steps being taken to embrace gender equality and inclusivity, evidenced by the PNP’s enthusiastic celebration of Women’s Month. Most importantly, however, we see it in the stories of honor, bravery and heroism beyond the line of duty, to fulfill their mandate “to serve and protect.”

I am quietly thankful whenever I read about such efforts, but the latter is one I look forward to the most every time. It assures us that law and order is actively present and two, the good guys will always outnumber the bad apples.

This is precisely why recent news reports came as a shock to me. The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s (CIDG) NCR chief, Col. Hansel Marantan, was unceremoniously relieved of his duties, for reasons that remain quite hazy. Earlier, one of his units responded to a complaint and arrested 13 Chinese nationals who were suspected of illegal gambling. Inexplicably, it was the officers who later found themselves being accused of stealing huge amounts of cash and jewelry from the suspects, and extorting P10 million from the Chinese in exchange for their freedom.

Here’s where it gets confusing: It was not the Chinese who accused the CIDG unit of any wrongdoing. On the contrary, when they were being prodded to press charges, all of them refused to do so, and in fact executed sworn testimonies that none of the arresting officers did anything wrong. Marantan, in particular, was not even there and had no involvement whatsoever in the operation. Despite having no official complainants, somehow all of the CIDG policemen were relieved of their duties, including their commanding officer for NCR.

This is the same Col. Marantan who was tasked to lead intelligence and investigations into Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., leading to charges being filed before the Department of Justice. Justice Secretary Boying Remulla himself would afterwards award Marantan with a medal of merit for his “prompt execution, seamless coordination and exceptional display of bravery.”

Now, while the House of Representatives, with President Bongbong Marcos himself, continues their dialogue with Teves for his homecoming and cooperation with the judicial process, the work of Col. Marantan has come to a standstill due to this odd development. I hope we don’t see it undone in the coming days and everyone, especially the families of the victims of what President Marcos calls a“politically-motivated killing,” can find justice.

All these, from allegations already denied by the would-be victims themselves. It should go without saying, and maybe with a quick look into his track record, that Col. Marantan’s relief from CIDG may not just be unfair, but also detrimental to the agency and the work they want to accomplish.

There’s a popular saying/hashtag nowadays that says “if you know, you know.” Those who know Col. Hansel Marantan – particularly in the intelligence community – are aware that he gets the job done, and he does things the right way. To lose such an asset at a time when intelligence and detection has taken such a vital role in police work would be major setback for law and order.



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