Proper monitoring of drug cases

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014


IF YOU noticed, all units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Central Visayas, from the regional level to the provincial and city/town levels are campaigning against illegal drugs.

Almost every day we hear reports of raids, arrests and the service of search warrants. Many have been arrested and millions of pesos-worth of drugs seized.

I think the police mean business this time against illegal drugs. This is the thrust of Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Prudencio "Tom" Bañas. I hope this is not “ningas cogon” or a mere “palabas.”

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Interestingly, ranking police officers already know how to drum up publicity for this activity (Oplan Pakilala?). They invite media people, especially television news reporters, to cover their raids and arrests. At the scene they allow themselves to be interviewed, with the suspects and the seized items in the background.

After a big haul, their commanders are the ones who present the suspects during a formal press conference. There is no problem with that. That is part of the p.r. work of law enforcers.

But sometimes, we cannot avoid asking questions about the progress of these police operations.

Who are monitoring them? Are the police filing charges against the suspects? Did the arresting officers really present or declare the seized items with the prosecutor's office?

What happens to the pieces of evidence at the police level? Did they file the correct case? And once the case is filed in court, are the arresting officers religiously attending court hearings?

What is the status of the P6 million worth of shabu confiscated from that 14-year-old girl considering that she was not charged being a minor? I am afraid that if the drugs are not accounted for, these might be recycled.

I am asking these questions because there are scalawags and bad eggs in the organization. I am afraid that some police officers and personnel are making money out of the anti-drug campaign.

While the media reports police operations when these happen, it cannot monitor the progress of these cases.

During the recent birthday celebration of S/Supt. Conrad Capa, deputy regional director for operations, I shared the same table with banker Prudencio “Prugee” Gesta, who has been appointed by PRO 7 to the newly created Police Advisory Board along with columnist and Philippine News Agency (PNA) bureau chief, lawyer Eddie Barrita and retired Court of Appeals justice Pampio “Popoy” Abarintos. Other personalities with good standing in the community are members of the board.

I asked Gesta if the board can monitor the progress of all drugs cases so the public will be updated. This is to avoid suspicion that some scalawags in the police settled the case at their level.

Gesta assured me that they will do their job to help strengthen the police organization and to provide it with guidance so it can effectively fight against all forms of evil in our society and serve the community as well. Good.

***

There is a saying that, “Crime does not pay.” Sooner or later, the long arms of the law will catch those who commit crimes.

This was what happened to Artemio Tere, a known drug personality in Bohol who killed a policeman and wounded three others in Tagbilaran City over the weekend. Tere was shot dead by policemen when he engaged them in a shootout at a checkpoint in Guindulman town. Meanwhile, a certain Noel Cordiniera, a notorious drug dealer in Liloan town, was shot dead by members of a raiding team inside his residence the other day.

Those who are into the illegal drug trade and the fugitives from justice better think twice in pursuing their illegal activities and hiding from the law. One of these days they may end up six feet below the ground.

Maayo pay maghinulsol na lang mo.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 27, 2014.

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