Image and credibility
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - October 14, 2019 - 12:00am

DOJ Sec. Menardo Guevarra has directed the oversight committee to closely monitor the ongoing reforms at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) under its new BuCor chief Gerald Bantag. There have been reports that after the demolition of illegal structures within the prison the "harsh living conditions were made harder". Some prisoners claimed they were ordered to sleep outdoors. Last Friday, an improvised explosive device was set off at the Maximum Security Compound Quadrant IV where the hardcore inmates were located. It is not yet known who was behind the bombing but it occurred at the same time the demolition was taking place. The explosives may have been set off to prevent being discovered by the demolition teams. Or it may be something else.

According to Guevarra, the committee will "monitor the reforms being initiated by the new BuCor leadership and ensure that such reforms are being implemented within the bounds of the law and with due consideration for the well-being of inmates in our penitentiaries". Remember that Bantag has a colorful history. He was relieved in connection with a grenade blast inside the Parañaque City Jail where ten inmates were killed. He was also wounded in the explosion. He promised to reform the NBP where so many past BuCor chiefs failed. Others have even been involved in corruption. The Senate hearings on GCTA, ninja cops and corruption at the NBP are still ongoing where there seems to be no end to the problems plaguing the NBP.

The buy-bust operation that took place in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013 while PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde was the provincial director also came under investigation. This time, the questionable procedures and actions of the thirteen police officers led by Maj. Baloyo have been exposed. The team is believed to have seized more than one hundred sixty kilos of shabu, million in cash released the real Chinese suspect Johnson Lee for fifty million pesos. It was also revealed that Albayalde had called the officers who were investigating the controversial operation to ask about his men, something the senators found totally inappropriate as well as suspect. Albayalde's reputation has now come under question just a few weeks before his mandatory retirement.

Once again, the image and credibility of the PNP has come under question because of the actions of scalawags. It is also clear there are maneuverings to meddle into cases against policemen in order for them to avoid being dismissed from the service but simply demoted or reassigned until talk of their nefarious activities have died down. Again the PNP has proven it is akin to a fraternity, where brotherhood among the police, especially batch mates in the PMA is of primary importance. Had Albayalde questioned his being relieved and did not call and ask about his men being investigated, he would have coasted calmly towards his retirement. Instead he is even mulling filing charges against his accusers drawing this controversy out even longer. It is the citizenry that suffers when the reputation of its police force comes into question.

Too bad. I saw Albayalde as a relief upon replacing Dela Rosa whose antics and theatricals exposed his desire to be more of a celebrity than a police officer.

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