Who is in charge?

Sometime last week of December PO1 Jay Vargas of the Naga City Police Office was ordered to be transferred to the Masbate Provincial Police Office. A son of a former police officer, his mother sought an audience with OIC RD PSSupt. Balligui Tira to clarify why PO1 Vargas was being moved. His mother came to see me and then told me what transpired. According to her, PO1 Vargas was being transferred at the behest of a certain Allan San Juan, the alleged henchman of Bong Villafuerte in the Naga City. PO1 Vargas was being moved because his brother, Rodel Vargas together with some elements of the Naga City Public Safety Office, reportedly apprehended a certain Mr. Renato Gallano sometime November 2007 and was caught in possession of jueteng paraphernalia. Because Rodel Vargas, a city government employee, was beyond the reach of the PNP Regional Command, they instead punished his brother, Jay, a police officer who was not even involved in the case. Said Mr. San Juan has been, rightly or wrongly,  tagged by local police authorities as the jueteng overseer in Camarines Sur. He seems to be too powerful that some police officers address him as “sir“. It was not surprising therefore that when said Mr. San Juan ran for Barangay Captain last November, elements of the PNP Regional Mobile Group were sent to his barangay to reinforce his bid. Every sitio was teeming with cops who, when interviewed by the reporters of DWNX, unfortunately did not know why there were there in the first place. Mr. San Juan miserably lost, to the consternation and embarrassment of his patrons. To continue, Mrs. Vargas told me that PSSupt. Tira, in her presence, called Bong and requested clearance that the order be held in abeyance. Mrs. Vargas and PSSupt. Tira belong to the same religious congregation. But Bong apparently refused. So P01 Vargas will still be transferred out of Naga City. I have no reason to doubt the account of Mrs. Vargas. She seems to me to be forthright. For all the bravura and toughness of OIC RD PSSupt. Tira, sadly, he himself does not have courage to stand for his brother in Christ. Nor does he have the balls to protect his fellowmen in uniform, even if they are being treated unfairly. No wonder, some policemen at the Naga City Police Station are saying that politicians are treating the police organization like dirt. Ironically, their superiors are acting as willing tools.

Before Christmas day last year, PNP-DPRM Police Director Edgardo Acuna called to inform me that a certain PSSupt Edwin Jose Nemenzo is going to takeover as OIC Chief of Police of Naga City. After several months delay and after the city has long suffered the incompetence of the incumbent OIC PSupt. Amor Macoy,  they finally designated a new OIC Chief of Police. Police Director Acuna informed me that PSSupt Nemenzo was to assume office before the New Year. Last January 5, 2008, I texted Police Director Acuna to find out why the new OIC Chief of Police, who has already reported, has not taken over yet. To my surprise, he responded that they have written HEGMA (the President) regarding the matter. Something must be very special with Naga City that it requires presidential clearance to install an OIC Chief of Police.

Clearly, there is a different chain of command as far as management of the Naga City Police Office is concerned. I would not have bothered to take notice. But unfortunately, this unnecessary interference and harassment of police elements have taken its toll on the peace and order situation in the city. People have lost their trust in the men in uniform. They have lost respect for the institution. (This should come as as no surprise. The PNP has allowed itself to be used and abused.) There seems to be a disconnect between what is being dished out in Camp Crame and the Bicol Regional Police Office. Maybe it is high time to ask the PNP Chief, who really is in charge?

3 Responses to Who is in charge?

  1. Manuel says:

    The PNP should be disbanded, with the full control and supervision over the local police given back to local governments. There is too much politics in the PNP. Corruption is also a problem. Inefficiency is prevalent at all levels. It is beholden to Malacanang.
    As a result, we have police stations running on a two-liter quota of gasoline everyday. What kind of patrol operations and police visibility can be achieved with that puny supply of gasoline? Many policemen don’t even have handguns, not to mention an adequate supply of ammunition. The list of woes goes on and on.
    A year ago, the police was also used as an instrument of oppression and injustice when its commandos assaulted the Iloilo Provincial Capitol in an effort to forcibly dislodge Governor Niel Tupas, Sr. from office upon orders of Malacanang. The troopers smashed glass doors, pointed their M-16 rifles at unarmed civilians and assaulted elected public officials. It was a scene worst than what we’ve seen during martial law.
    There is only one solution, and that is to break up the national organization.

  2. jesserobredo says:

    dear manuel: we have given up on the local PNP. we are relying more and more on our Public Safety Office and the barangay volunteers. localization of police control seems to be logical next step.

  3. Manuel says:

    dear mayor jesse,

    we will keep a close tab on what you are doing. maybe we can get ideas from you. more power!

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