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Of Apologies and Coverups

October 26, 2008

In recent years the lexicon of Philippine society has been ‘enriched’ with old words that have taken on dark meangings, meanings that engender cynicism rather than faith in pronouncements of officials holding  high rank.

These are the words ‘sorry’ and ‘lapse in judgment’ and a synonym of sorts: ‘misstep’.

Last week it was recently retired national police comptroller Eliseo dela Paz who read to national news media a prepared “I am sorry” statement upon his return from that headline-making trip to Russia of police generals and their wives,

Dela Paz professed “readiness to answer any and all questions” about the nearly PhP 7-M cash advance he drew as spending money for an Interpol  meeting in Russia,

Curiously, Dela Paz’s cash advance was on top of a PhP 2.3-Mspending allotment also released for the PNP team.

Aside from the apparent disproportionately ‘generous’ traveling kitty of the group, public disquiet over the ‘Euro-generals. issue has further been stoked by the incongruent statements issued by officials.

These have ranged from the probable culpability of Dela Paz and his bosses to the source and nature of the funds.

Were these authorized ‘contingency allotments’, intelligence moneys, or did they come from private sources?

The PNP chief Jesus Versosa, who has barely warmed his seat at Camp Crame, surprisingly asserted that the release of the huge amounts to Dela Paz did not pass throught him.

Now reports quote him saying national security is involved. Muddling the issue even more is the move of Dela Paz to question the very jurisdiction of the Senate all the way to the Supreme Court.

A side bar is the obviously hurried “finding” by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations  chaired by the voluble Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago that the Ombudsman should open a preliminary probe into the case because Delaa Paz and company were “guilty of malversation of publicx funds.”

I’m saying sidebar because while such a conclusion may not be wrong, how could the committee make the finding after just one hearing ‘in aid of legislation’?

Is this just a moro-moro chapter to prepare the way for a different finding when the Ombudsman handles the case (if at all it will)?

Is Dela Paz just being pig-headed or has his “lapse in judgment” opened the lid on a can of worms which could point to how PNP funds are being spent in cavalier fashion?



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