06 November 2006

Macaspac to Pimentel: Professionalize PNP to professionalize police ranks

CAMP ALAGAR, Cagayan de Oro City (MIKE BAÑOS / Nov 6) – Presidential Assistant for Police Affairs Sec. Orlando A. Macaspac today challenged Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. to professionalize the appointments and promotions of senior police officials to help improve the performance of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Pimentel earlier expressed alarm over the PNP’s admission that police efficiency in the country is declining by 3.9 percent every year and index crimes are on the rise.

Pimentel said this trend validates a United Kingdom study made by the Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) which was published Nov. 2 that lists the Philippines among the worst performers in terms of access to law enforcement. Among over 20 countries covered by the study, the Philippines ranks third, the first being Israel and second, Thailand, as the worst in terms of failing to uphold the standards of legal protection for citizens, as well as law enforcement.

Macaspac said the senator can immediately help rectify this situation by repealing that portion of the Local Government Code drawn up by Pimentel himself which gives local government officials the option to refuse the appointment of a city, provincial or municipal police director in their respective localities.

“Paano kung gusto ng chief executive na may jueteng sa kanyang territoryo at pumalag ang kanyang chief of police?” Macaspac asked media at the PNP-PRO-10 headquarters here. “Kawawa naman ang pulis! During the time of DILG Sec. Joey Lina, I asked him why not also make an example of such local government officials by sacking them?”

Macaspac appealed to media to help rally support for the amendment of this law to enable the PNP’s Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board (SOPPB) to ‘depoliticize’ the appointment, transfer and promotion of senior police officials from the influence and patronage of local government officials.

“There is no country in this world that can police every citizen,” Macaspac told a general assembly of PRO-10 officers and personnel. “Strenghten your resolve, matuto tayo sa eksperyensiya.”

“I learned by bitter personal experience when I was still in the PNP,” he added. “I am proud to say I am an INC member, and I suffered all the punishment of an LGU official if he did not get what he wanted from me.”

Despite this, Macaspac was promoted to star rank only 15 months after his promotion as a full colonel in the former PC/INP. He ended his police career as commanding general of South Capcom or the Southern Police Command covering the cities of Manila, Makati, Pasay, Paranaque, Pateros, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas and Taguig.

Together with PRO-10 Regional Director Chief Supt. Florante Baguio, Macaspac also presented to media two of the most wanted persons in Region 10 who were nabbed by elements of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (COCPO) last November 3, 2006 and personally awarded the recognition of PRO-10 officers and enlisted personnel who were instrumental in their arrest.

The SSN report also showed that the Philippines is followed by Russia in the top three countries that fail to afford their citizens “statutory protection” and unbiased “law enforcement.”

It said police authorities in the Philippines are engaged in “communications intercepts” like Greece, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, United States, Poland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Malaysia and China.

“The implication of this report is that the country is already under ‘Big Brother’ police surveillance even without the Anti-Terror Bill of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile,” Pimentel said.

“I also received a report, unverified at this point, that the money raised by the government through the Venable contract has been used to buy ‘3 GSM interceptors’. The interceptors are reportedly the most sophisticated bugging machines money can buy today,” the minority leader said.

“I fear that the resources of the country are being misapplied to keep some people in power at all costs and intimidate the rest into existence as automatons.”

Pimentel stressed anew the need for full debates on the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act, being sponsored by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to ensure that the civil liberties of the people are adequately safeguarded.

“I will move to amend the Enrile bill based on the experience of other countries especially the United Kingdom,” he said. “I want to delete provisions in the bill that might be abused by the authorities and perhaps shorten the period of detention and provide for alternative ways of restricting movements of suspects.” (with a report from Omeng Manlangit

02 November 2006

PRO 10 on full alert until Nov. 3

THE Police Regional Office 10 (PRO 10) went on full alert effective at 10 a.m. Friday as SOP following President Arroyo’s departure for an official trip to China and in preparation for All Saints’ Day and the Christmas season, said Northern Mindanao police head Chief Supt. Florante Baguio yesterday.

Baguio said he has instructed his field commanders to maintain high police visibility and 24-hour patrols.

He said each provincial and city police office has formed its dedicated team to guard vital installations and other key places.

Baguio said the full alert status in the entire region will remain up to Nov. 3 and may be extended as the need arises.

He reminded the public about the routine prohibition against carrying bladed weapons, alcoholic drinks and other illegal items inside cemeteries.

Early last week, police in the entire region has already increased alert level and even pronounced itself ready for any eventuality and prepared for any threat against peace during the said celebration of All Saints’ Day.

A memorandum from Camp Crame was also issued according to Baguio.

The memorandum was signed by PNP chief Director General Oscar Calderon, directing all PNP personnel in the entire country to provide maximum security coverage and public safety service to include security assistance along the highways and major thoroughfares.

Starting Tuesday, last week, hundreds of policemen including regional mobile and traffic management group in the city likely seen on highways in preparation for the said two days activities.

"The entire police regional office is prepared for any threat against the peace of our country," said Baguio "will be on call 24 hours a day and our units are prepared for any eventuality."

The memorandum also directed all regional offices in the country to increase police visibility and provide traffic management along routes leading to cemeteries and other places of convergence such as airports, seaports and bus terminals.

“The activities shall be carried-out with the support of government agencies, non-government and other volunteer organizations,” Baguio said.

In the aftermath of the bombing attacks in Makilala, Cotabato early this month though, which killed seven people, Baguio cautioned the public to remain on their toes and immediately report to authorities any strangers behaving suspiciously.

"Kailangan ay lagi tayong maging mapagmasid sa ating kapaligiran… Iyung PNP, mga local government units ay nagtutulong-tulong para makapangasiwa ng mga security measures," he said.

Baguio said despite reported threat attacks by the MILF rebels in Lanao del Norte still police units still on guard.

“The attacks from rebel groups during the holidays might be possible but we’re ready at all times,” Baguio said.

Baguio also ordered policemen assigned in big cemeteries in key cities in the region to conduct arrests to people and confiscate bringing liquor including people playing cards, illegally.

“Hindi natin pinapayagan ang mga inuming nakalalasing sa loob ng sementeryo,” Baguio said adding drinking liquor inside the cemetery would disrupt and create unmannered environment particularly people praying with their dead.

Meanwhile, Traffic Management Office 10 regional chief PSupt. Felixberto Castillo said they are now conducting a 24-hours police patrolling on highways near cemetery in Cagayan de Oro City.

“Our men assigned in two major highways in Bulua and upper Balulang going Lumbia are all on guard, watching people traveling here in Cagayan de Oro,” Castillo said.

Castillo said an IMPLAN 11/2006, “Manman Kalye”, campaign against street crimes was also issued in observance of the said two-day activities.

“These are the crime that frequently occur in public places, such as highways, streets, and alleys, perpetrated by an individual or group of individuals against target,” Castillo said.

Castillo also said additional traffic enforcers will be deployed during All Souls and Saints day celebration.

“Checkpoints should be manned 24-hours during that days, our men assigned are all prepared and assured the riding public to reach cemetery safe and on time,” Castillo said.

06 September 2006

Baguio disagrees any image crises

THEY may be getting flak from politicians, militants and human rights officials, but the police do not feel that they image has suffered in the eyes of the public.

“If we have an image crisis, people would not be going to the police anymore, but so many ask for help from us,” said police regional director Chief Superintendent Florante Baguio.

Baguio said not only people continue to seek police help but they also go them for such simple services as asking for directions or for security for community activities.

“The requests for assistance have not stopped, I don’t think there is a crisis,” Baguio said.

Earlier, Cagayan de Oro councilor Reynaldo Advincula blamed police city director Senior Superintendent for a seeming breakdown in law enforcement in the city, citing the rising cases of robbery and cable wire thefts that affected the peace and order of the city.

Advincula also called Trampe to immediately vacate his post as Cagayan de Oro’s top post.

Two weeks after branding Cagayan de Oro City police director Senior Supt. Aurelio Trampe as “inutile” and “ineffective,” and going to the extent and calling for his resignation due to the city’s alarming crime rate, city councilors have a sudden turn-around mulling to even pass a resolution commending the beleaguered city police for the “accomplishments.”

“Oro policemen including should be given an award or citation for their accomplishments,” councilor Alvin Calingin said.

“A call (for his resignation) should have been a call to commend,” Calingin said.

During the regular council’s regular session, Calingin lauded Trampe’s efforts for maintaining the city’s peace and order environment as no major criminal incidents during his assumption as city’s top cop.

Calingin said because of 24 hours police visibility, they surprisingly achieved commendable accomplishments in curbing criminality for the last 7 months.
“All are petty crimes occurred in the city,” Calingin said adding it (petty crimes) is a natural occurrence nationwide.