The controversial police officer

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Sunday, May 4, 2014


I HAD a chance to talk with S/Supt. Conrado Capa during the birthday celebration of S/Supt. Erson Digal, regional operations chief, last Saturday night inside Camp Sergio Osmeña. Capa became controversial after being criticized by no less than President Noynoy Aquino for “questioning” his new assignment as deputy regional director for operations at the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7. Capa was former chief of Task Force Tugis that captured the fugitive real estate developer Delfin Lee.

Lee’s arrest became controversial as there were “interventions” by the suspect’s political connections.

Capa said the pressure was not on him but it was more on the Philippine National Police (PNP) hierarchy. PNP Chief Alan Purisima said Lee was no longer in the list of fugitives but Capa claimed the warrant of arrest in his possession was still valid when his unit arrested Lee.

Capa, a Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduate batch ‘85, told this columnist all the circumstances surrounding Lee’s arrest and the implication of his assignment here.

However, I am not at liberty to divulge the details of our talk as these involved intelligence matters and were off the record. I am honoring his request.

He explained that he did not question nor refuse his new assignment. He just wondered why he was assigned here when there are vacant positions in Camp Crame or in Luzon where he can be accommodated. He is more familiar with these areas as he had been assigned there since he graduated from the PMA. Besides, there are other senior officers assigned here jockeying for the position of deputy regional director for operations.

This is Capa’s first assignment outside of Metro Manila or Luzon.

He has no rancor towards his senior officers, especially Purisima, who is his friend and direct superior in previous positions he held when he was still a junior officer.

Regarding the President’s criticisms against him, Capa said the President was just misinformed on the matter. Capa did not dwell much on the issue and opted to remain silent. “Who am I to question the authority of the President and the PNP chief? As a good soldier, I should follow orders from my superiors,” he said. He does not regret his action.

Capa said his assignment here was a blessing in disguise. Metro Cebu has fewer problems in criminality unlike in Metro Manila, he said. Besides, he has made new friends and his current post is very challenging. The pressure on his career is still present as he is in charge of operations. He is also the third highest-ranking officer in the regional command. But it’s a little bit more relaxing here, he said.

When asked if there was a possibility of him being promoted to one-star general under the Aquino administration, Capa said he will leave it to the Almighty. “If it will be given, then I’ll be happy. But if not, it’s okay,’ he said.

I seldom admire police officers, especially those I know to have engaged in shenanigans, but my first impression of Capa is that he is a maverick.

Meaning, he won’t hesitate to speak out if he thinks he is right. He is a principled man. My salute to you, Sir.

***

I was in Mactan Island the whole day yesterday for the company outing of RGMA dySS Super Radyo employees at Karancho Beach in Marigondon.

Some of my co-employees were complaining because they were caught in traffic along M. Patalingjug Ave. in Barangay Basak near the shopping mall. I went there past 11 a.m. together with fellow Sun.Star Cebu columnist Atty. Eddie Barrita.

Those who arrived at the resort early advised texted me and told me not to pass by the area to avoid the traffic. So I decided to pass through Barangay Mactan.

Traffic has always been the problem in Basak as the barangay is very progressive. It has more commercial establishments, a shopping mall and a hospital, but its road remains narrow. Motorcycles and trisikad also contribute to the congestion. I hope with the billions of pesos appropriated for the Mactan circumferential road, the traffic problem in Lapu-Lapu City will eventually be solved.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 05, 2014.

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