Saturday, October 23, 2021

Briones: Complicity

On The Go

I KNOW I should move on. But I still can’t get the whole thing out of my mind.

It has been four days since police barged inside Maj. Ildefonso Miranda Jr.’s quarters at the Argao Police Station and found him in bed with a young woman who should have been behind bars.

I heard the arresting officers took photos and a video of the operation but I have yet to see these. But there was no mention of any hanky-panky going on. It just so happened that Miranda is a law enforcement officer who was caught with Jean Claudia de Guzman Villanueva, a woman in her 20s who was arrested during a drug bust last year. Otherwise, their being together would have been perfectly okay. After all, Miranda and Villanueva are both single and of legal age.

Miranda, in a news report, said he had nothing to be ashamed of since he didn’t commit a heinous crime. His only mistake was that he fell in love with the wrong woman, he said.

Okay. Let’s just stop there for a minute.

The public has been having a field day with this story. And I understand. I, too, am guilty of making light of the situation. After all, who doesn’t love a scandal? But this is actually a grave matter. One that deserves a second look. Without the sneers and the jeers.

At the time of the entrapment operation, Miranda was chief of police of Argao, a town in southern Cebu that has a serious illegal drug problem.

The war against this social menace is ongoing. It has been brutal and deadly. Thousands have died as a result. In fact, in January, a 43-year-old drug suspect was killed in an alleged shootout with police in Barangay Langtad.

In case you forgot, Miranda’s love interest was detained over a drug charge. So, too, was the woman who was found inside the room with them. The one who acted as Miranda’s “helper.”

The fact that the then police chief gave them preferential treatment was a serious breach of protocol. Allowing them out of their cells was “in gross violation of the law and strict police procedures when it comes to keeping persons under custody.”

Miranda will be facing complaints for direct bribery, a violation under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); removing a person in any jail or penal establishment, a violation under Article 156 of the RPC; and for committing corrupt practices prohibited under Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Miranda is no hapless Romeo. Don’t be fooled by his sob story of falling for the wrong woman. He was a person in authority who blatantly abused his power. That he got away with it for so long only meant that everybody else in the police station and the town, may I add, were in on it and looked the other way, save for the two whistleblowers who probably couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy anymore and decided to squeal on their superior.


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