Trusting the PNP


For January 13, 2012
Good Morning Philippines
ON SECOND THOUGHT

The bid to purchase 12,500 pistols conducted by the DILG/PNP late last year was announced as back to scratch and a new bidding process will commence early this year. The reason for the aborted bid was due to time constraints that saw an inconclusive winner by year-end, with the allotted budget returned to the DBM. The amount involved in this transaction is in the vicinity of a quarter of a billion pesos. The bidding process did seem to have gotten enough media coverage commensurate to the money involved. “Transparency” should include sufficient and ample notice to the public and invitations to media to ensure that it is conducted in “broad daylight,” so to speak, and not in some “sleazy dark alley” where unsavory dealings could occur. This is true not only for the DILG/PNP but for all government agencies. We hope U-Sec Rico Puno, in this new attempt to bid out this important peace-keeping requirement, much needed by our police, will again go out of his way to inform the public of the outcome of each step of the bidding process as he had done the first time around. We imagine he is very aware of the need to bolster the image of the PNP with the general public because no police force on earth can hope to be successful if the public does not trust it. It is not enough for this government to say they adhere to the much touted daang matuwid; it behooves all administration officials to go the extra mile to show that they mean it.

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After the coming weekend, the nation will be witness to an unprecedented impeachment trial of a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, whose personal life remains relatively unknown to the majority, unlike the accused in the impeachment trial of a former President and popular movie actor in the person of Erap. Although the “demonizing” of Chief Justice Corona has started in earnest for sometime now, particularly by the Congressmen-allies of the President and by what is now called the “yellow media,” his side of the story still has to be heard.
Though President Aquino, if we are to believe the surveys, remains popular to the large majority of people, he cannot appear to be too participative in the process at a time when, again, if we are to believe the surveys, there have been big jumps in the number of people that see the economy as either stagnating or deteriorating. In fact, the last polls published just a couple of days ago, show that only 18% of those asked think the economy has improved. Among them — the 18% — only 60% said they “somewhat felt it.” These figures jive with the latest hunger index that likewise showed significant increases in the number of people experiencing hunger or no food in their plates “at least once in the last 3 months” and “more than just once” in the same period of time. His over-concern with the impeachment will reinforce the growing perception that he does not have his priorities in order. Another growing perception among the population is the connection between the Supreme Court decisions on the case of Hacienda Luisita, and PNoy’s obsession and intense hostility towards the Chief Justice. It has been said that the underlying motive in PNoy’s encroachment into the judiciary, and apparent need to control it, is to preempt future decisions still pending with the courts that would decide the amount of the “just compensation” for the Luisita land of his family. That could be anywhere from zilch (farmers assessment), to P350M (Corona’s and 9 other justices computation based on 1989 value), to P12B or more (based on 2006 valuation), which is what PNoy appointee, Justice Serreno, by her lonesome, reckons it should be. People kill for a tiny fraction of that amount; controlling the court for that amount, since he’s already President, does not seem far-fetched at all. To give us an idea of what, say, P10B is: to finish spending that amount, you would need to spend One Million Pesos a day, everyday for 27 years; or, Five Hundred Thousand Pesos a day, everyday, for 54 years. It actually could sound like a curse…unless you knew where to shop, I guess. Still….

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