PDEA officer suspended

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Sunday, August 24, 2014


FOR challenging a reporter into a gun duel during an interview, Esperidion Javier, deputy regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcment Agency (PDEA) 7, was found administratively guilty of simple misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service. He was ordered suspended for six months without pay.

The case stemmed from the complaint of dySS Super Radyo and Sun.Star Superbalita reporter Guam Logroño against Javier who challenged him to a gun duel when the reporter sought his reaction to an incident involving PDEA agents.

Last Nov. 21, at around 9 p.m. PDEA agents Norman Arga, Fancisfil Tangeres, Erwin Purisima, Joy Ann Tomas and Leo Vincent Morales conducted a casing surveillance against a certain ‘Kirat’ of Barangay Pahina Central. The following day, the team submitted an after-activity report regarding the operation.

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The report stated that only the confidential informants proceeded to the target area and while they were there, a certain Boy Caes, who claimed to be an NBI agent, intercepted the team. PDEA agents pulled out from the area. On Nov. 22, a certain Ernesto Ancao, resident of Pahina Central, filed a complaint for trespassing and illegal search against the PDEA agents with the Barangay Pahina Central office and with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI 7). Logroño reported the incident over radio dySS and in Superbalita with the headline: “Lima ka PDEA agents mironda nga walay search warrant.”

The following day, Logroño called Javier over the phone to get his reaction. But instead of giving an explanation, Javier challenged him to a gun duel. “Huwag na yang interview-interview, barilan na lang tayo. Ano ba talaga magkaibigan tayo o hindi?

Anong gusto mo, draw tayo? Magbarilan na lang tayo? Anything under the sun. Ikaw kung
gusto mo, pumunta ka dito magdiskasyo tayo buong araw.”’ These were the exact words uttered by Javier to Logroño, based on the latter’s complaint-affidavit.

Shocked and scared considering that Javier is an officer and a former marine, Logroño reported the matter to his colleagues at the PNP-Defense Press Corps. The following day, accompanied by Chito Aragon of radio dyLA and The Cebu Daily News, Arnold Bustamante of radio dyHP and Lou Ann Mar Rondina of GMA 7, they went to the office of Javier. Seeing the group, Javier, with a firearm tucked in his waistband, confronted the group and said: “Sino sa inyo si Guam Logroño? Sabihin ninyo barilan kami.’

Later in the afternoon, in a live interview over GMA 7s Balitang Bisdak, Javier apologized to Guam and the other reporters for his behavior.

The three reporters also executed affidavits regarding Javier’s actuation at that moment.

Radio dySS management also fully supported Guam. PDEA central office sent investigators here to investigate Logroño’s complaint. It took them nine months to review the case. In its 14-page resolution signed by PDEA Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac, Javier was found guilty of simple misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

This is a victory to the media and should serve as a reminder to news sources on how to handle its members. We are not demanding special treatment, just a little courtesy.

Media plays a dual role vis-a-vis government policies and their instrumentalists. We play the role of ally, meaning partners. The government is using the media to disseminate information because we have the tools and facilities to do so. On the other hand, we also play the adversary. Adversarial does not mean that we are against the government. But we act as a watchdog against government’s excesses and abuses.

Javier, who has a military background, should learn a lesson when he returns after serving his six-month suspension. Of course, he can always file a motion for reconsideration or elevate the matter to a higher body. PDEA is civilian in character unlike the military and it is covered by civil service rules. Ano na ni Toto Esperidion, bakasyon ta anay To sa aton banwa sa Iloilo, To? Ma-obra ta anay sa aton tubo kag sa basak didto sa aton ya. Good luck.

***

Here’s a request from Msgr. Ruben Labajo, head of the team ministry of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. They will be sponsoring a fund-raising drive called “Bailamos para el Señor (Let’s dance for the Lord). This is a ballroom dancing affair to be held on Sept.12 at the Mariner’s Court at the ALU-TUCP compound at 7 p.m. Proceeds will be used to restore parts of the cathedral that were damaged during last year’s earthquake. There is an assessment fee of P1,000. Tickets are available at the cathedral. Please support this noble project.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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