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Failure of Leadership At The PNP

November 20, 2008


The Philippine National Police was not always the scandal-rocked and much maligned institution as projected in news headlines and commentaries these days.

But the blemished image is made darker with its top officials revealed to have treated intelligence funds as their personal travel and leisure kitty with even their wives misrepresented as ranking officials attending assemblies of the International Police Organization (INTERPOL).

In the immediate post-American colonial period, there was the Philippine Constabulary (PC) standing as a 4th branch of the Armed Forces as territorial home defense forces prosecuting the war against the peasant-based guerrillas Hukbong Bansa Laban sa Hapon ( HUKBALAHAP) that constituted the underground against the occupying Japanese Imperial Forces.

Refusing to lay down their arms after the war, the Huks with Luis Taruc providing charismatic leadership turned into a local insurgency espousing peasant land reform issues.

Suppressing these rebels became the justification for the rise of a national police organization. When Taruc was finally captured and the Huks were dispersed (its remnants becoming the core of the communist New People’s Army), the relative peace allowed officials to detach the PC from the AFP, restructuring it as the PC-Integrated National Police (PC-INP) as prelude to what was intended to be a fully civilian-character police organization.

That sound concept continues to hold promise, with the current Philippine National Police slowly drawing new ‘blood’ including its professional officer corps from its own Philippine National Police Academy.

Sadly, the reality is the PNP is still rigidly military in character with mistahs running the show characterized by the tendency to cover up misdeeds even if this means taking theblame for the incompetence of the higher ups while mid-level officers just wait for their turn at the generous benefits, rising robotically from the ranks.

This was much in evidence when retired PNP comptroller lamely explained to congressmen why he was offering himself as scapegoat in the scandal over the huge amount of Euros confiscated from him and his wife in Russia and how he drew the money from police intelligence funds.

“That is my training Sir,” Dela Paz confessed.

Equally revealing s the admission of embattled PNP chief Jesus Versoza that he did not suspend the ranking officials found involved in the scandal and simply formed “technical working groups” to study fiscal reforms, among others.

To top it all, Versoza, through his boys, has dragged the name of his predecessor, Avelino Razon, into the blame-game as the trip to St. Petersburg was approved before Razon bowed out of office. This even as that Versoza’s own director for plans handpicked Dela Paz and company for their Russian junket.

The lies the PNP brass are trying to stitch together in their damage control-cum-cover up of the scandal continue: including their supposed intent to buy anti-crime intelligence gear as reason for the huge cash advance drawn by Dela Paz and planned side trips, and the assertion that they all upgraded their airline bookings to business class at their own expense.

Laughably damning for Dela Paz is his claim that he was carrying huge sums of Euros to buy watches in Vienna for a businessman-friend with hundreds of millions of pesos worth of supply contracts with the PNP.

Talk about the PNP going a long way from its humble roots.

A star-rank official acting as errand boy to buy watches?

The failure of leadership at the Philippine National Police is abundantly clear.

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