Prosecute Deloso

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By Tibs Palasan, Jr

Spark of Law

Friday, March 21, 2014


THE crime rate in Cagayan de Oro is high. As the former mayor explained, “It goes with increasing population.” On the surface, it is a very logical. If we push the logic to its extreme to the point of absurdity, we can argue, “There is no crime if there is no one living on it.” The logic lies flat on its falsity.

Singapore has more residents, transient and permanent, at any given time of the day compared to Cagayan de Oro City. But we need not argue the obvious that our crime rate here is higher.

It’s not the issue of population density that is the issue. It is law enforcement. To argue that increased population brings about higher crime rate is an admission of weakness and inefficiency at law enforcement.

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What makes worse the situation in our city is not the high crime rate but the involvement of our law enforcers in these crimes. It is difficult enough to apprehend common thugs. It is far more difficult to arrest law enforcers.

Involvement of law enforcers in crimes is doubly obnoxious. Committing a crime affronts the peace of the community. Law enforcers doing the criminal acts not only disturb the peace but betray the public trust as well.

There is a real danger to society when trust is lost on our law enforcers. We fear the common criminals but we fear more the law enforcers. This will create a contagion, the contagion of taking the law into our hands that breaks the social fabric.

The case of Police Superintendent John Michael Deloso, Traffic Unit chief of Cagayan de Oro Police Office, and Police Officer 3 Ernesto Galleto, Deloso’s aide, is troubling. They were arrested on March 17, 2014 for asking protection money in the amount of P6,000 from the drivers’ association of Xavier Heights. The amount was protection money every month for allowing the drivers to use public roads as terminal.

The two were caught red-handed in an entrapment operation set by the NBI operatives.

Of all people, Deloso extorted money from lawyer Ernie Palanan. This is not to say that lawyers are untouchable. Deloso must have known that he has only scratched the surface of law while Palanan is an expert, and the latter knows how to catch criminals, am sure, way better than the former.

Deloso, and his breed, must have been extorting from the public. His confidence, or is it brazenness, to extort from a lawyer, speaks of his history of extortion. A newbie would have avoided a lawyer like a plague. He knows that his scheme is illegal and to subject the man of law to this crime is indicative that he has felt invincible in carrying out his sinister act.

A sense of invincibility is common among criminals. Having committed crimes with impunity in the past, they develop a false sense that they can do it perpetually. This must be the state of mind of Deloso when he tried to extort from a lawyer.

If it is not a sense of invincibility that prompted Deloso to extort from lawyer Palanan, then it must be plain stupidity. He is not even a match to the lawyer he intended to victimize.

The police hierarchy must dig deeper into the issue. There are so many public roads in the city which are being used by jeepney and taxi drivers. We can only surmise that these drivers are giving protection money. How could you explain their continued use of public roads as terminals?

If the police hierarchy wants to protect its own, then the city government should take the cudgel. The RTA is busy apprehending the public for jaywalking and other minor traffic violations. It is a mockery if they apprehend the violators of minor offenses and yet close their eyes on the mushrooming terminals in our city.

Before the public be made to follow the traffic rules, the city government must see to it that law enforcers out in the streets are not committing the crimes themselves. In fact, the city officials must be on the look-out for traffic enforcers who mulct the residents. If the city officials cannot apprehend these law enforcers, they do not have the moral ascendancy to enforce traffic rules to the public.

Where the police are involved in crimes, the city government must take the initiative. Mayor Oscar Moreno promised during the elections that he will keep the peace of our city. It is time to translate word into action.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 21, 2014.

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