The Best Man for the Post

WITH the impending relief of Metro Manila police director Leocadio Santiago Jr. after a review from the bright minds of PNoy’s legal team to the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee that conducted probe to the August 23 hostage tragedy, names that could replace him have floated this early.

Topping the list include Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr. and Chief Supt. Nicanor Bartolome who both were former spokesmen of the Philippine National Police and have undeniably demonstrated dedication and competence, qualities their contemporaries might not possess.

Nevertheless, Pagdilao, currently the Region 6 police director, appears to have upper hand over Bartolome, who is PRO 4 chief, in terms of experience in handling police matters in Metro Manila. A brilliant lawyer, Pagdi, as he’s fondly called by many including media people, used to be the regional officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-national capital region for two years, deputy district director for operations and administration of Quezon City Police District and the same posts he held for another two years at the National Capital Regional Police.

Aside from those sensitive posts, Pagdi’s adroitness was hugely noticed when he was the Caloocan City police chief at the time tensions between political archrivals were at the peak and then he became director of the Northern Police District (NPD). Known to be “darling of the press,” for keeping himself accessible with “small-time and big-time” tri-media people, I believe the good general is the best man for the NCRPO top post, well without prejudice to Santiago who is, without a doubt, highly-qualified even to a higher PNP post.

As what many say on Pagdi: “Hinog na hinog na sya sa Metro Manila operation.”

Poor Leila

If I were Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, I wouldn’t think twice resigning from the post. That’s already double whammy for her, two setbacks that obviously miscalculated her competence as DOJ chief.

Fresh from the dismaying review by Malacanang’s legal team, whose members appear to be more knowledgeable than De Lima and her panel, that watered down its recommendations against officials concerned over the botched rescue, the feisty secretary is at it again this time over the sudden move of the principal Malacanang tenant to issue Proclamation 50 that grants amnesty to rebel soldiers led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Though she claims she’s informed about the Palace move, she was nevertheless taken aback when the amnesty proclamation came out without having her or her department consulted.

Saying she could have differences over policy decisions with PNoy as indicated by the two major issues, De Lima should not wait for more similar scenarios in the near future that would compromise further her relationship with the Principal Servant of the Bosses. And yet, she still has nerve to say she’s “firmly committed” to him but how about him. I don’t think so.

Had she been consulted prior to the issuance of the proclamation, I believe De Lima would have advised PNoy to wait for this month’s promulgation of the decision on the Trillanes case before a Makati trial court instead of preempting what it will say. Well, who would want to counter a presidential prerogative?

To quote Assistant Prosecutor Juan Pedro “JP” Navera: “We concede that these are political offenses but we have a problem with the timing. If you want to respect the rule of law, we should have waited for the promulgation. How do we explain to the witnesses that we have come to this?”

Review First

National Press Club president Jerry Yap is only right when he demands for a review of the PNP’s published handbook on media safety before the same is distributed to the members of the press. He says the “one-sided” preparation and “surprise” publication cast doubts on its integrity and reliability since none of the existing media groups was consulted or, at the very least, informed about the project.

He says: “While we welcome the publication of the handbook which we believe would be helpful for members of the media, propriety dictates that the end users and other stakeholders be consulted first. The NPC has announced as early as August that it was coming out with a similar handbook later this year after consulting with experts in the field of security, including the PNP, and other media organizations. They cannot force this one on us unless we find it highly reliable and acceptable.”

The NPC, which has been active in protecting the interest and welfare of its members and even non-members that started from the time of my Kumpadre, Benny Antiporda, who now heads the Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamahayag (AFIMA) so incomparable with the previous leaderships, is ready to reject the handbook once it finds things in it that are glaringly objectionable. Arlie O. Calalo


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