Culture of crime

A Quezon City policeman, M/Sgt. Galahad Altarejos, was arrested on charges that he raped a 17-year-old girl.

Why aren’t we surprised?

Because so many policemen – too many to be counted – are into other crimes: murder, robbery, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, car theft (carnapping in local parlance), drug trafficking or drug pushing.

You name the crime, our cops commit it.

Based on my experience as a police-watcher, the common crime among rogue policemen nowadays is trafficking, pushing or using drugs.

Many cops use or sell the drugs they seize from drug offenders. It’s a common practice.

Policemen “high” on confiscated drugs commit dastardly crimes. They are driven to violate the laws they are mandated to enforce because they’ve lost all inhibitions.

No matter how much increase in pay they get or who the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is, many cops will always get involved in crime.

Even during the time of PNP chief Guillermo Lorenzo “Guilor” Eleazar, a strict disciplinarian, there were still numerous cops who committed abuses against civilians.

The crime culture within the force is so prevalent that a good cop is considered an oddball. In my estimate, bad cops greatly outnumber the good ones.

What do we do to get rid of the culture of crime within the PNP?

Cops who witness in their presence a crime being committed by their colleague should also be made accountable for the crime. Even police commanders should be punished for the sins of their subordinates.

The practice of punishing other members of a group that condones a misdeed of its member would be an effective way of dealing with sabwatan (conspiracy) within the PNP.

At the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), cadets who don’t tell on fellow cadets that cheat, lie or commit other infractions are equally punished. This practice at the PMA, a school for future military officers, has weeded out misfits among the cadet corps.

* * *

Having a bash at this time, when millions of people are going hungry due to the pandemic and the recent Super Typhoon Odette is unconscionable, downright insensitive and highly scandalous.

It is especially so if the ones holding the festive gatherings are government officials charged with taking care of the needs of the people.

On Dec. 21, 2021, the new director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of Region 4-B, Gerard Pacanan, held a big Christmas party.

Region 4-B is composed of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan. Recently, the region has been named Mimaropa, based on the names of the provinces in the region.

The Christmas party had all the works – such as holding a contest for the best costume; being entertained by two live bands; having kiddie and magic shows for his subordinates’ children and having 600 to 700 guests, some of them contractors for DPWH projects.

The party lasted from morning till evening, and P4 million was spent for it, according to an inside source.

Pacanan apparently “forgot” that among the hardest hit by Super Typhoon Odette was Palawan, where communication lines were cut, some bridges were washed away by rampaging floodwaters and many roads were impassable.

The DPWH regional director also “forgot” that a big gathering like the one he held for his subordinates and contractors was a no-no, considering that crowded or large parties can be COVID-19 super-spreader events.

Apparently, Pacanan held the Christmas party to introduce himself; in Tagalog, pagpapakilala. He was given the Region 4-B post in October 2021.

* * *

The wife of a drug suspect came to us at Isumbong mo kay Tulfo not to ask for her husband’s mercy but to complain about the malpractice of the lawyer they hired to defend him in court.

Pamela Lachica Alabata showed us a letter she sent to lawyer Ray Jacinto Vigilia, who holds office at Room 705, 7th floor, EU State Tower, Quezon Ave., Quezon City. She was demanding the return of P1,250,000 that her family so far has given him. Khalid Sana Guiabal was arrested by the police for a drug offense that has no bail.

Vigilia, according to Alabata, originally demanded P2.5 million from her, supposedly to pay off the judge so her husband would be released on bail.

Vigilia allegedly told the woman that Quezon City Judge Lyn Chua Ebora-Cacha had demanded the amount.

Because of the amount demanded (Vigilia’s allegation), Alabata asked her family in Maguindanao to sell “a piece of land, domestic animals, motorcycles and anything of value.”

The drug suspect’s wife said she could only raise P1.3 million and gave it to the young lawyer. Vigilia supposedly set aside P100,000 for his legal fees.

Methinks Vigilia lied to Alabata as Judge Cacha has a clean record, according to research made so far by my staff.

Alabata said that when the judge didn’t grant her husband bail, she now demands her money back.

Vigilia didn’t answer our calls for him to deny the allegations by Alabata.

My “Isumbong” staff did some research and found the following: A person named Ray Jacinto Vigilia studied in San Beda and passed the Bar in 2016. He was one of 36 persons charged in the hazing death of a fraternity neophyte in 2012. The charges were dropped because of “procedural issues.”

The accusation against Vigilia reminds me of the charges against Mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna for the rape-murder of two University of the Philippines (UP) students in Los Baños in 1993.

Sanchez’s lawyer supposedly asked him to bribe the judge hearing the rape with double homicide case with a substantial amount.

The judge hearing the rape and homicide charges against Sanchez and his bodyguards was Harriet Demetriou, who was incorruptible.

After the verdict was handed down, Sanchez was so livid he nearly fell down the stairs while being led from the courtroom.

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