Lifestyle gap and PNP corruption

By Satur C. Ocampo
At Ground Level | The Philippine Star

“I think that corruption is the heart of the problem,” writes a reader in reaction to last week’s column piece — regarding five cases of ordinary citizens arrested in joint AFP-PNP operations, using court warrants issued in the names of alleged CPP-NPA leaders with millions of pesos offered as bounties for their capture/arrest.

In two instances, the courts ruled (on habeas corpus petitions) that the arrests were cases of mistaken identity. However, in one of these resolved cases the AFP chief reportedly awarded to an “informant” the P5.6-million bounty. Who collected that money?

Most likely to be similarly found mistaken is the recent arrest, in Mexico, Pampanga, of two elderly residents: Lourdes Quioc, a village midwife, and Reynaldo Ingal, a retired driver. Their relatives have filed a petition for habeas corpus against the PNP-Central Luzon director and other police officers involved in the arrest.

Another reader, Carmelito Tatlonghari, writing in behalf of fellow workers at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, attests that Ingal is a “law-abiding citizen who worked with us at the BNPP for so many years.” They are appealing for his immediate release.

The blogger “Pulis Na Pogi” for his part requests that I read his posts about corruption in the Philippine National Police and asks for my comments. I did. He seems to be a knowledgeable PNP insider, probably a ranking police officer. He writes:

“The most approximate reason of corruption right now in the PNP is the entrenched culture of ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ This PNP culture is but a microcosm of the whole state of government in general and a reflection of the Filipino people at large…”

“This culture permeates the organization from top to bottom, thus corruption happens as is, where is,” he adds quoting a general who said, “I did not invent corruption, I walked into it.” “(It) existed and flourished because of the monolithic leadership that suppressed potential whistle blowers and pressured many others to ‘go with the flow’.”

Like the Mafia, Pulis Na Pogi explains, the PNP leadership is “almost monolithic, with the top 100 positions all occupied by PMAyers [graduates of the Philippine Military Academy] except for a few deputy positions numbering to no less than 10 occupied by officers from other sources of commission.”

But he didn’t blame the PMAyers solely for the corruption. At all levels where PMAyers and PNPAyers [graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy] are assigned, both are to blame.

“In the Finance and Comptrollership, arguably the most corrupt unit of the PNP where the amount of funds stolen would make the pork barrel scam of Napoles look like loose change, there are as many equally corrupt PNPAyers as there are PMAyers,” he points out.

Here’s how he depicts the various levels of corruption in the PNP:

• Since the PMAyers are on top, the top-level corruption is committed by them.

• Since there are no more PMAyers lower than Superintendents (Class ‘92, the youngest PMAyers, will be promoted to Senior Superintendents this year), the corruption at the lower levels are masterminded by PNPAyers.

• Top-level corruption would be in the form of wholesale “clearing” of MOOEs [miscellaneous operating and other expenses] and special releases of the Department of Budget and Management, mostly from the pork barrel of politicians.

• At the middle level (Regional Directors – PMAyers; Provincial Directors – mix of PMAyers and PNPAyers) would be the organized rackets, most especially illegal gambling.

• At the bottom, where most of the junior PNPAyers are, that would be street-level corruption such as hulidap, small-time protection rackets, and recycling of illegal drugs.

“Unfortunately for the PNPAyers,” he laments, “the street-level corruption is (what) Juan dela Cruz feels very strongly about because it is where the shenanigans directly affect him.”

Pulis Na Pogi segues with a blog focused on PNP Director-General Alan Purisima’s controversial resthouse in Nueva Ecija and other assets. He posts three photographs of the house from three angles, and contrasts them with three photographs of the PNP-AFP housing project in Bulacan.

Two photos show President Aquino inspecting a housing unit, one from the outside and the other, inside — showing a narrow room with bare galvanized-ironsheet roofing.

Purisima, says the blogger, in insisting that his is just an ordinary house, is “a sad reflection of his Boss P-Noy in terms of mindset. This is [being] very insensitive to policemen, especially the beneficiaries of PNP housing programs whose units have floor areas of less than 30 square meters and bunched in cramped locations.”

For further contrast, he posts color slides from an official PNP presentation in 2009 culled from a United Nations Development Program study. The slides show the following:

“Police stations are squatters”: 80% are built of inferior materials, vulnerable to forces of nature… more than 75,000 (63%) of PNP personnel need decent shelters…60% of personnel live below the poverty line…83.4% of policemen resort to salary loans…50% of pensioners don’t receive regular budget allocations…only 7% of personnel with dependents receive educational assistance.

Assuming that Gen. Purisima’s wealth all came from legal sources, Pulis Na Pogi concludes:

“Something is very, very wrong with the system because the lifestyle gap between him and his subordinates is not proportionate to the salary gap between them.”

What can I say?

* * *

Published in The Philippine Star
October 18, 2014

Share This Post