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On the spotlight anew: ‘Narco-Politician,’ Cops with relatives running in 2022 polls

October 6, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 374 views

Alfred DalizonWITH barely hours to go before the end of the filing of Certificates for Candidacy in the 2021 national and local elections, all eyes are not only on the so-called ‘trapos’ or traditional politicians and other political wannabes including the perennial nuisance candidates which make us all laugh.

I’m referring to the so-called ‘narco-politicians,’ members of the PNP and the Armed Forces-active or retired-who are incumbent local officials or candidates who lost in the 2019 polls but are seeking redemption next year, and police and military officers and men who have local politicians for relatives in their areas of assignment.

Last week, PNP chief, General Gilor Eleazar warned candidates running for different elective positions in 2022 to stay away from known illegal drug personalities and rely on ‘narco-money’ to boost their chances to be elected.

I fully agree with our top cop when he raised the alarm bells amid the possibility of illegal drug syndicates financing the campaign of some candidates in exchange for protection once they are elected citing cases in the past wherein some locally elected officials were arrested for involvement in illegal drugs.

Just remember the case of former Panukulan, Quezon Mayor Ronnie Mitra who was sentenced to life imprisonment for transporting almost 500 kilos of shabu worth P1 billion using an ambulance in Real municipality in 2001, the PNP chief said.

There is also the case of ex-cop-turned former Maguindanao town mayor Montasser Sabal who was arrested last June for possession of a cache of firearms and explosives and more than P200,000 worth of shabu at the Batangas City port. However, Mitra is more lucky than Sabal since the latter is already dead, shot by a CIDG agent after he reportedly grabbed the firearm of one of his escorts as he was about to be taken to Camp Crame.

Gen. Eleazar was right when he said that some erring candidates may tap the help of illegal drug syndicates to raise his campaign funds in exchange for protection once they are elected. This has been evident in the cases of some known narco-politicians’ killed in the past, their cases unsolved up to this day.

However, the PNP needs all the help it can get from the intelligence community and the people in building up solid evidence against these rogue politicians which would lead to their arrest and conviction.

I still remember the day when the government tried hard to release a so-called ‘narco-list’ containing the names of politicians allegedly involved in illegal drug activities before the 2019 mid-term elections. The release of the ‘narco-list’ purportedly was made to warn voters about certain ‘narco-politicians’ gunning for elective seats that year with their ‘narco-money.’

However, many of those in the ‘narco-list’ were again elected to local government posts in different parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in 2019 prompting some lawmakers to ask the government to ‘”seriously” pursue the cases against the winners especially if there are sufficient pieces of evidence against them.

Then there is the presence of former and active police and military officials-products of the PMA included-who are expected to seek local elective posts anew in 2022. Many of these incumbent officials have done good in their areas although some are known to have bitterly lost in previous polls but may be staging another political comeback.

There is nothing wrong with a police official seeking an elective post in his province as long as he resigns his post as soon as he files his certificate of candidacy on or before October 8. Actually, active PNP and AFP officials running for mayor of his town may have an edge on his rivals since he for sure have ‘campaigned’ for himself in one or two years he has commanded a certain area and endeared himself to the local populace.

On Monday, Gen. Eleazar also ordered a full accounting of policemen whose relatives and family members are running for local elective positions, especially at the local level in the May 2022 polls as part of his effort to ensure an apolitical police force.

According to the top cop, this will ensure that not a single member of the 220,000-strong police force will engage in partisan politics. Police officers and men who are also planning to seek elective posts in next year’s polls will also automatically be deemed resigned from the force once they file their Certificates of Candidacy this week.

Gen. Eleazar said that as part of their commitment to isolate the PNP from partisan politics, he has ordered an accounting of police officers and men whose relatives have already filed the COC or would certainly run for public office in the May elections.

Once identified, these policemen would be transferred in areas outside the cities, municipalities and provinces where their relatives are seeking to be re-elected or elected for the first time. This is to prevent usual complaints that some policemen have been actively campaign for their relatives and intervening on their behalf in case they violate election rules and regulations.

While most of the allegations are not true, Gen .Eleazar stressed that these incidents only revealed that police officers may also be subjected to harassments and victims of false allegations.

“This is to ensure that any of our personnel would not be given the opportunity to intervene and likewise prevent speculations and allegations in the future that the PNP is engaging in partisan politics, especially at the local level,” he explained.

The top cop vowed that the police organization would remain apolitical and will take the initiative of holding any of the personnel accountable in cases of defiance of their commitment. Let’s take Gen. Eleazar’s word on this.

Actually, there’s nothing wrong if a policeman in his own individual capacity will ‘campaign’ for the likes of Senator Bong Go, Mayor Isko Moreno, Vice President Leny Robredo or Mayor Sara Duterte. We all have our own preferred candidates as they say and can always tell our family, relatives and friends of the choices we have made. That’s democracy at work. The only thing wrong here is if a police officer will use government time and resources to campaign for a particular candidate.