I’M referring to the honest and hardworking 3rd-Level Officers of the Philippine National Police whom I believe will surely weather the latest storm that has hit the organization: the appeal of DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos for them to tender their courtesy resignation from the force.
I honestly believe that the officers led by General Jun Azurin will for sure be able to navigate this storm as the good will prevail as always. Sec. Abalos said it all when he quoted the famous lines from Edmund Burke: the only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing.
When I say the good, I’m directly referring to the majority of the 956 police generals and full-fledged colonels who are responsible for commanding the cops that keep our streets safe and daily give us the opportunity to enjoy sleep in the confines of our homes.
Having covered the police force since 1989, I can say without batting an eyelash that majority of its members are truly dedicated to their sworn oath to ‘serve and protect.’ If there are some members of a police station arrested and jailed for extortion or drugs, it doesn’t mean that all members of that station are rotten to the core.
If a Station Drug Enforcement Unit became the center of a controversy due to the presence of a few bad eggs, it doesn’t mean that all its members are corrupt. In the same vein, it doesn’t’ mean that all members of a specialized PNP unit or the PNP as a whole are bad eggs in case some of their fellows are found to be one.
For me, the decision of Sec. Abalos and Gen. Azurin has turned into a classic example of the proverbial phrase ‘is the glass half-empty or half-full.” ‘Half-empty’ is the point raised by the pessimists or those who disagree with the appeal while ‘’Half-Full’ is the point of view of the optimistic officials who believe a clean slate is what the organization really needs.
It actually demonstrate that the situation is being seen in different ways depending on one’s point of view. However, everybody must toe the line now that President Bongbong Marcos has expressed full support to the appeal of Sec. Abalos and Gen. Azurin.
It’s now time for everybody to wait, look and listen and stop sowing intrigues that may sow confusion and demoralization in the force. Many have said ‘we do not burn an entire house in order to flush out the rats hiding amongst its walls and corners’ but what are their recommendations?
What the PNP need right now are recommendations and strong support to the PNP leadership’s call that the 5-Man Committee remain fair and apolitical in order to preserve the career of those who have remained faithful and true to the service of the country and the people over the past 25 or 30 years or more.
Let’s not forget the sacrifices made by these officers in the line of duty since they all deserve due process and a fair and impartial public investigation within the reasonable bounds of the law which they were originally sworn to observe and protect.
On a personal note, I would like to commend Sec. Abalos for recommending the inclusion of Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong to the 5-Man Committee that will review the courtesy resignation of the 3rd-Level Officers in the PNP.
Many officials have welcomed the DILG chief’s decision knowing fully well that Magalong, a retired 2-star police general from PMA Class 1982 would really make good as a member of the committee.
A good friend since the early 90s, Gen. Magalong said he believes that Sec. Abalos made his decision after a thorough consultation process, in short, it was not a knee-jerk reaction or a whimsical decision. The official who retired in 2016 said he believes that by doing so, senior police officials will help restore the Filipinos’ trust to the organization.
Magalong may have earned some enemies in the force as a result of his exposes and investigations in the past but there is no doubt that majority believes in him. Just ask the question to Baguio City residents who gave him his 2nd term as mayor last May.
The DILG chief said Magalong has an unblemished integrity and credibility when he was still in the police force and since he became the Baguio City mayor in 2019 and many officials agree with Abalos.
A former director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Magalong chaired the Board of Inquiry that investigated the infamous killing of 44 SAF commandos during a mission to neutralize Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist Zulkiplin bin Hir alias ‘Marwan’ in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 20, 2015.
Despite efforts by some high-ranking government officials, the BOI stood by its findings that then President Benigno S. Aquino gave the ‘go-signal’ and allowed the operation to proceedafter it was presented to him by then suspended PNP chief, Gen. Alan Purisima and then PNP-SAF commander, Director Getulio Napeñas Jr.
The BOI also said that the operation ‘bypassed the established PNP Chain of Command’ with then PNP Officer-in-Charge, Gen. Dindo Espina totally kept in the dark about the PNP-SAF’s mission in Mamasapano.
After the release of the BOI report, Magalong was relieved as PNP-CIDG director and was transferred to the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management. He retired as PNP Deputy Chief for Operations during the time of PNP chief, now Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa.
It was also Magalong who also made the revelations regarding the involvement of several corrupt police officers in shady drug activities during a congressional investigation on anomalies taking place inside the New Bilibid Prisons during the early days of the Duterte presidency.
His revelations triggered a massive investigation which eventually forced then PNP chief, now retired Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde to resign from his post after some former officers of the latter were implicated in a highly-irregular drug operation in Pampanga province.
Gen. Azurin and his other officials welcomed the designation of Magalong to the 5-Man Committee saying that the official is a known ‘man of proven integrity.’ “He is a very credible person, very honest and truthful,” according to PNP-CIDG director, Brigadier Gen. Ronald Lee who once worked with Mayor Magalong when he was still the Cordillera Police Regional Office director.
National Capital Region Police Office director, Major Gen. Jonnel Estomo said they fully support the move by Sec. Abalos to recommend Mayor Magalong as a member of the committee to President Marcos Jr.
“Gen. Magalong is known for his very good service reputation, his integrity and candidness. He is not afraid to go for the truth as proven by his work in the BOI and the CIDG,” Estomo told me.
Sec. Abalos announced the designation of Mayor Magalong to the 5-Man Committee a day after police generals and colonels whom he asked to tender their courtesy resignation from the service demanded only one thing: a fair and objective 5-Man Committee which will subject them into a thorough vetting that will regain them their badge of honor or cost the end of their 30-years or more service in the force.