How many police crimes haven’t been exposed?

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RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

OF course we don’t know, and we may never know. We were only jarred over the likelihood that heinous crimes committed by the police have risen since President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, because of the kidnap and killing of Korean national Jee Ick-joo allegedly by, of all people, the officers involved in that campaign that has been the No. 1 priority of the President himself.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald de la Rosa himself has said that he is convinced Senior Police Officer Ricardo Isabel and Police Superintendent Rafael Dumlao were the main perpetrators of the crime. Dumlao is the team leader of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group’s Special Investigation Unit 2, while Isabel is one of his operatives.

Dumlao’s police rank obscures the seriousness of the situation. “Superintendent” is the equivalent of lieutenant colonel in the Armed Forces. I can’t remember a single Army or Marine colonel ever being accused of a grisly crime like kidnapping for ransom.

That the police killers thought themselves beyond the law was demonstrated by their killing of the Korean not just within the PNP headquarters, but a few blocks from the PNP chief’s residence. Have you ever heard of such a crime committed in the Army’s headquarters at Fort Bonifacio, or the Armed Forces at Camp Aguinaldo?


If the Korean’s wife had not realized that her husband had already been killed when she paid the P5 million ransom, and didn’t go to the PNP leadership to report the crime, would the crime ever be exposed to the public?

Indeed, only because of the consequent Senate investigation of the horrific crime did victims get enough courage to give Senator Panfilo Lacson, Jr. video tapes of police planting illegal drugs in an office, and beating up its employees. Only because of the investigation did Chinese-Filipino anti-crime crusader Teresita Ang-See disclose that several Chinese businessmen have reported that police have extorted millions of pesos from then with the threat that they’d be tagged as drug lords, and even killed in an operation.

Something very rotten
There is something rotten going on, and we must kick ourselves for not realizing that Duterte’s war on illegal drugs is so fraught with danger, given the quality and track record of the Philippine National Police.

MEN OF DUTERTE’S WAR VS DRUGS: Left, police colonel Dumlao; right, police sergeant Sta. Isabel, both of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, accused of kidnapping and killing a Korean businessman.

The analogy of a war used in Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs conceals the very serious problem. Duterte’s army isn’t a national army fighting a foreign invader. The huge problem is the PNP, which has been ridden with corruption since its establishment, with its officials pressured to engage in graft, as they have to accumulate substantial bank accounts or properties before reaching their retirement age of 56.

Shocking as it may be, the “pabaon” system—the under-the-table moneys given to retiring generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines exposed in a Senate investigation a few years ago–may have mitigated such pressure to be corrupt in the AFP. No such pabaon system has been unearthed in the PNP.

There are of course PNP generals who are practically saints, who retire poor, rely on their wives’ businesses (or even salaries) for post-retirement expenses, or who become security-agency executives. But have you ever met such a PNP general?

For most PNP officers though, income beyond their salaries come from “no-victim” graft, “smiling money,” the term they use, so that they can still look themselves in the mirror: a share in the jueteng proceeds of a town (preferably a city); protection money from such establishments as massage parlors and nightclubs that front as full-time or part-time prostitution joints (allegedly a big source of graft in Quezon City and Pasay); and donations by businessmen, especially Chinese-Filipinos, for them to have some “muscle” so that criminal syndicates wouldn’t dare touch them.

Some “respectable” PNP officials–-or their wives–also manage to get businesses from tycoons, who calculate that a direct line to police generals and colonels is cheaper than hiring bodyguards. A near legendary tale involves a PNP officer who rescued the kidnapped daughter of a tycoon. The officer led the team that rescued the girl and executed all of the kidnappers. He refused to accept the reward offered by the tycoon, but built so much goodwill with the billionaire that he got very good business contacts and breaks from him.

Police scalawags
The so-called police scalawags are those who get “crying money” — from extortion and blackmail — and those who don’t bother to go into businesses which require intelligence, work and patience. They protect drug lords in their areas of jurisdiction, as Police Supt. (colonel) Marvin Marcos was accused of doing by confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. (Whatever happened to the case against him that he planned the liquidation of Espinosa’s father, right inside a Baybay City jail?). They themselves engage in big-time drug distribution. Or for the impatient and bold, kidnap rich people, preferably Chinese-Filipinos and foreigners, as these people are easily persuaded to pay ransom.

What Duterte and his PNP chief have been naïve over is the fact that in such a major, even historical campaign as a war on drugs, not everyone in the fighting force they mobilize for it, is imbued with such patriotism or basic goodness.

In fact, most of the PNP, except perhaps for a microscopic group of young recruits, aren’t such idealists, and are involved in “war”, at best and naturally, to be promoted, and at worst, exploit the campaign for their own purposes. It is very likely that a significant number of the over 2,000 so far killed in Duterte’s drug war were low-level distributors of rogue cops themselves, or even those they wanted killed for some personal or financial reason. The prime example, is, disguised in their purported surveillance to bust a drug lord–if the PNP chief is right in his accusations–was Sta. Isabel and Dumlao’s meticulous execution of the Korean’s kidnapping.

I myself experienced how a “noble” objective could be turned into something very ugly when I was the Presidential Chief of Staff during the early years of President Gloria Arroyo’s administration, when we launched a “lifestyle check” campaign to get rid of corrupt officials, which proved to be very successful.

I was informed later though by AFP intelligence whom I had asked to monitor the campaign, that one of my staff had been going around the Bureau of Customs, and threatening to have certain officials “lifestyle-checked” if they don’t pay him. He managed to extort P250,000 to P500,000 from a few officials, who obviously had made enough money from graft to pay up. The lifestyle check campaign got such a bad press from this incident that it was scuttled. That demonic staff of mine managed to get a high position in President Aquino’s administration and, quite surprisingly, also in the Duterte government.

Duterte and his PNP chief De la Rosa’s big fault is that for such a huge campaign relying on an organization not known for its incorruptibility, they didn’t put in place a group that would act as a check on the police operations against illegal drugs. Perhaps, an experienced intelligence group from the AFP would have sufficed as a check.

Learn from Marcos era
Duterte should learn from the Marcos era, especially since martial law portrayed the military and the police as having so much power, in the same way that Duterte has given the police as much power in his war on illegal drugs.

Despite the quality of Marcos’ generals—especially AFP Vice Chief of Staff and Philippine Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos—there were criminals and sadists in the AFP and PC. By 1975, then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile reported that military tribunals had convicted more than 4,000 soldiers and policemen for various offenses, including human rights abuses.

Was there a state policy for the military and the police to undertake human rights abuses? I don’t think so. Yet the perception that Marcos was as ruthless as Indonesia’s Suharto and Chile’s Pinochet (who did have such policies) has persisted. Duterte doesn’t even have the military tribunals that Marcos had to weed out fast the scalawags in the uniformed services, and the Yellow Cult hates him as it does the former strongman, and has the media resources to demonize him.

E-mail: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Bobi Tiglao and Rigoberto Tiglao

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24 Comments

  1. aladin g. villacorte on

    “That demonic staff of mine managed to get a high position in President Aquino’s administration and, quite surprisingly, also in the Duterte government.”

    I am not so sure now whether to believe your narrative or not, but I sure hope to God you’ll pass on such information to the proper authorities.

  2. Sir:

    Please give just hints regarding the identity of your former staff member who managed to stay in the government of Arroyo and now of Duterte. He/she would surely continue his/her practice of corruption in his/her current position. Thank you.

  3. Why no paba-on or financial gift to a retiring police officer while there was a malpractice of this in the military? Police officers since they were captain or senior inspector have been receiving a monthly payola of jueteng monies that run to one hundred plus thousand pesos in the place they were a chief of police.

    Here’s a blog entitled “RICH PNP CAPTAIN, POOR ARMY GENERAL”
    ” A chief of police of a first class town reminisced the time when illegal gambling jueteng reign in Pangasinan. He told me that his daily payola in jueteng was much bigger than what he was receiving daily in Jai-Alai run by Meridien. “Sa jueteng P8000 a day (P240, 000 a month) ang hepe dito sa bayan na ito. Pero sa MeridienP5000 (P150,000 a month) lang ako,” he told us media men. He said his men lauded him because all the police force under his command have free meals three times a day and seven days a week compared to other chiefs of police who are “boxer” (euphemism for tight wad). “Budget ko diyan P25, 000 o P75,000 kada linggo”. He said every week he gives cell phone “load” money for his policemen depending on their rank. “Pag PO1, P100, Pag PO2, P200, pag SPO4, P400”. He said other police chiefs could not emulate his feat. They could only treat once a day free meal their men from the proceeds of Jai-Alai – a number game played just like Jueteng”
    ” Susmariosep, I remembered a story on air by veteran broadcaster the late actor-villain Rod Navarro at DZXL. He said when he was with the Criminal Intelligence Service (Navarro was a retired PC master sergeant before he joined the celluloid screen) in the 1970s, a young constable of the CIS (precursor of the present Criminal Intelligence Detection Group (CIDG) knocked at the door of the sakla-an (gambling den) in Tondo, Manila. An errand boy of the den asked the constable (a private in the Army) who was the visitor. The operator was told that the young PC was from the CIS and he was there to collect his share from the “protection money.” The errand boy asked the sleuth to wait for a while as he would tell the operator of the sakla-an of his intention. After a few minutes the errand boy returned and gave the CIS operative P100 (P500 in the present rate). After the constable left there was another knock on the door. When the errand boy asked who was the visitor he was told that he was a Colonel de la Cruz from Camp Crame. When the colonel was asked what his position at the PC, he was told that the colonel was the commanding officer of the marching band (banda in Tagalog) of the national headquarters. After a while the factotum, who told his boss the rank and position of the guest, returned and gave the colonel a P20 bill (P100 in the present rate). The fuming colonel asked the errand boy why he was given a pittance while the constable received a P100 bill. “Colonel ako, private lang iyon!” the officer hissed. “Sir, kahit private lang iyong taga CIS may kamandag po iyon,” the giver explained confidently. “Anong ibig mong sabihin na may kamandag?” the colonel posed. The errand boy explained that anytime that guy from the CIS can raid the gambling den, close it and arrest everybody there. While a commanding officer of the marching band of the police has no power to do so because his mandate was to supervise the music played by the marching band in the national police headquarters. “Kaya dapat maging masaya na kayo colonel sa P20 dahil wala naman kayong kamandag (poison),” the errand boy lectured the smarting colonel”

  4. So you are saying that Duterte never knew about these so called scalawags in the PNP even after having been a mayor for umpteen years? Indeed that may be the case. This President is so naive that he thinks he can solve all the problems in the country by himself.

    He should wake up and start appointing a council of wise and principled people from all sectors of the public, whether from the Senate/House, the church, business leaders, retired judges and attorneys, retired politicians, etc. who can advise him and propose draft policies for him to implement. The question is whether Duterte has the humility and wisdom to accept such proposals and implement them.

  5. I believe that the best way to clean up the PNP at this time is for the government to create a task force for the purpose to be headed if possible by the former CIDG head retired Gen. Benjamin Magalong and with one of the members to be retired Gen. Leonardo Espina. I hope I am not wrong in thinking that both of them are Mr. Clean and that they will know where to look for the dirt.

  6. To overhaul the police in our country start with the training-recruitment-selection system. At the outset screen out the bad eggs, nurture the provenly good candidates. Meanwhile, adopting a performance/behavior evaluation system will ferret out those with bad records and retain only those who meet the established standards of performance. May be no fool-proof approach but, at least, we’ll be assured of a good percentage of police force members having passed the test and well-geared for the battle “for God and country.”

  7. We went to war with a weapon that blows up in our faces, as dangerous to us as it is to the enemy.

  8. it’s time to have Police Court of Justice just like MCJ in Military. Criminal thinking Police were never afraid to commit crime for they know they can play with our Civilian court.

  9. The reality in the PNP is that there are more rogue policemen that who were not. Gen. Bato should accept this fact, otherwise there are no reforms in the PNP that can be implemented. Until he finally recognize that there are problems in the PNP, he can never reform it.

    • yes you are correct kutong lupa. as long bato and du30 mouth the line that there are more good cops than rotten cops, these rotten cops will never get their due. bato and du30 should now realize that the majority of the cops especially the ayers are businessmen and always think of making money. both bato and du30 should admit this fact and maybe follow what tiglao says that makoy during martial law created the military tribunals to weed out and give speedy justice to rouges in uniform.

    • Agree. I have never believed the propaganda that there are more good cops than bad ones. The reverse is true because I have seen it at the lowest level when mere traffic enforcers force drivers to bribe them. They also “own” the bridge or the street where they are dispatched and collect fees from barkers. That is why I feel that those who were killed because “nanlaban daw” were summarily executed to silence them. The PNP general should ask policemen to have someone with a camera go with them or at least a fellow policeman to video the police activity to show what actually happened. Matagal nang gawain ng mga pulis ang magtanim ng shabi at baril. Para lang sa tanim bala style sa NAIA. The ringleaders of kidnapping, carjacking, jueteng, and drug syndicates are usually policemen, retired or not and military men, retired and not. I am sorry but I have never truly trusted the police. With the killing of Espinosa, all the more I lost faith in Duterte’s method of shielding the police. He knows that there are rogue policemen or ninja cops and yet with Marcos et.al, he said he believes them more than the criminal as if cops can’t be criminals themselves. I agree with Duterte about the drug menace. I agree with him that we need peace and order. HOwever, he needs to change his methods first by making sure that the police are actually killing those who were shooting back by asking more proof from the police and by making the use of camera mandatory in all police activities.

  10. It is interesting to identify the scumbag you mentioned in the article who was your former staff, then was again fortunate to worked with the Aquino government and currently, is successful in bridging his way to the present admin in spite of his previous corrupt records…

    is it also surprising that he is one of the many who are able despite their reported or alleged corruption from previous admins to be part of the present dispensation…look at the many who surrounds PRRD?

    It is really naive that we believe it can be done in one sweep, even if PRRD was able to instill in most if not all Pinoys that famous military approach ” shock and awe”.

    Our problems have been with us for generations built systematically , institutionally and adopted culturally…

    It can only be undone if we will have generations of principled and honest leadership who will be committed to executing their sworn duty legally for all Pinoys equitably for the rich and the poor…

  11. With Duterte now having openly declared his intention to continue the blood bath throughout the duration of his presidency, the situation in the Philippines in terms of escalating vicious crime and lawlessness will only worsen from this point onward.

  12. The brains in the Jee Ick Joo murder right in Camp Crame smells fishy like having a hideous agenda: to mock the PNP Chief and the President Duterte as well. Why of all places?!
    This war in illegal drugs is hurting both the users (some of them killed) and the traders (they are losing millions in sales). Dumlao and Sta,. Isabel (et al) most probably are “someone else’s” instruments in humiliating Bato and PDU30 while at the same time avenging for the aforementioned drug dealers who are losing business.
    Editor RDT is so excellent in investigative research, he deserves a seat at the Commission to unravel the Mamasapano massacre. Sec. Abella, what do you think?

  13. The PNP have a worldwide reputation for corruption and criminality. They have had the reputation for, what seems like aeons. It has not just started to happen since June 2016. There were instances of the police being involved in kidnappings, killings, robberies well before DU30 started, so it is unfair to imply that this all started with him. It may be that they have grown more “brass necked” about killing criminals, but the rest of their exploits have been going on for a long time.
    As for not have any members of the Marines/Army charged with heinous crimes, isn’t there an ex-Army General charged with kidnapping, torture and murder, or is that not a heinous enough crime to be included?

  14. That so true Mr Tiglao. Our Police ? constable upon retirement upon qualifying is guaranteed a comfortable pensions as per the Police Union Collective Bargainig and also from the Govt pension plan and old age security pensions. And tax Funded medical care. So why take the risk?

  15. how about a joint editorial of all the newspapers to condemn such dastardly acts of men in uniform? newspapers should have done this starting with the espinosa killing!

  16. Well, blame that on the small-town mayor mentality that the promdi mayor can not seem to shrug off. Lacking the organizational skill coupled with the naivette viz PNP culture in the big cities outside of Davao, institutional measures to curb abuses that may be committed in the course of the war on drugs were never put in place. Now that they have a wake-up call, I hope that Bato can wake up from his lethargy and really cleanse their ranks before any further embarrassment befall our country.

  17. It boggles the mind how prevalent rogue police in the country. Seems like it is in their DNA or worst than a terminal disease. They should be treated like those drug addict/dealers and should pay ultimately with their lives. This might be too harsh but what is good for the goose is surely good for the gander. Just my two cents!!!

  18. Bobi Tiglao maraming salamat! Have you known such characters in the PNP while you were with GMA, and until now these characters are with the Duterte administration? Perhaps, it would be to the advantage of the PNP if you were one of the Commissioners in the Police Commission?

  19. simple.. we are a nation without the rule of law. our laws are only there in paper. for decades many influential families, the military and police get away with their crimes. we are still a banana republic and will not or cannot join the 2nd world if we run the government this way. our government workers in general are not professional in their duties of serving the people. Just look at Bato., he accepted the monetary gifts from Pacquiao to watch the fight in vegas with his family all expenses paid. what do you think when rookie cops see this? they lost respect to their chief. Now this barbaric murder of the korean business. then stupid Duterte says he will still keep Bato after all this failings. then Dumlao escape from Crame. our government is heavily infested with crooks and incopetents. and this is the recipe for no progress.. the people are the problem and the solution.