Police accountability-A A +A
By Ram Mercado
Sunday, October 27, 2013
YOU can count with the fingers the number of police generals who have administered the affairs of Police Region 3 as regional directors. Most of the former RDs so-called came and left with no little fanfare. They were largely unremembered, mostly unknown, and worse, unsung. The reason for being easily forgotten was their lack of solid legacy to the community and the service. They only served the drab routine of their tour of duty.
Being assigned as PNP Region 3 director is seen as the penultimate achievement of any police superintendent, the position of chief PNP as the ultimate.
If he has a sense of history and lasting values, the RD can always discover an area of police work where he can shine with genuine luster and sterling achievement. Some of the new RD's predecessors made a name at Camp Olivas as relentless and unforgiving campaigners against the Huks, the NPAs, even against freedom fighters during martial law. The new RD can create history merely by naming suspects already apprehended for violating the election gun ban. Parenthetically, no violator has been prosecuted after the past poll gun-ban campaigns.
Local officials have welcomed the new RD, Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, with high expectations of improved police accountability. In a matter of weeks, he has tallied a commendable performance record based on the accomplishment reports of his city, provincial, and municipal police chiefs. Notable of these is S/Supt. Eden Ugale of the Angeles City police station.
With the warm and enthusiastic welcome of local officials, is the challenge (which this column has sounded) to Gen. Petrasanta to release to media the names of persons apprehended for violations of the election gun ban and those caught with loose firearms. If he can do this, he shall have made a work legacy in transparency.
If Camp Olivas and police stations in the Region 3 find it proper, lawful, and duty bound to release and identify the names of apprehended suspects in murder, robbery, holdup, physical injuries, rapes, and all the index crimes as reported in newspapers, why not the identities of gun ban violators?
I wonder loudly why the police do not divulge the names of persons who had been apprehended for the possession of unlicensed firearms and those running afoul of the election gun ban. Newspaper reports quoted Camp Olivas authorities that some 170 violators of the present gun ban had been recorded along with some confiscated high calibre firearms.
We are daring Gen. Petrasanta to release the names of the violators to media. By doing so he becomes a living proof of accountability and transparency that the people demand of their leaders in government.
In releasing the identities of the violators, the police director will be erasing long held suspicions that the police benefit materially in bribe money from those who would make convenient "areglo" to avoid facing criminal charges. The PD should show his fearless and equal treatment of suspect criminals. Name them all, General!
If the police are trigger happy in publicizing the names of suspects in various crimes, why should they withhold (and protect from public scrutiny) the names of gun ban violators? Was it because some of those apprehended belong to the uniform service, others are well known personalities, while many are local businessmen and minor politicians with money to burn?
By informing the public of gun ban violators, the PD upholds the concept of the freedom of information, as well as prevents possible police corruption in the matter of suspects' financial "settlement", while giving meaning to police transparency and irreproachability.
If no violators are charged in court after the elections, we can only say Amen to that.
As regards news items on the gun ban, the reporters who should know the basics of news writing are at fault, too, for omitting to mention the "WHO" of the story.
You may not know
Where life's road leads you,
Just keep moving.
God is walking with you.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 28, 2013.