• Mar’s hand seen in spoiling VACC founding celebration

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    Officers and members of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Friday scored Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina for unceremoniously depriving the group of the venue in Camp Crame in Quezon City where they were scheduled to celebrate their 17th founding anniversary.

    Records show that the VACC was given the approval to use the Camp Crame Multi-purpose Hall last May 11 by Sr. Supt. Ricky Nerbes, deputy director for administration of the Headquarters Support Service.

    But for reasons still unclear to them, the group said Espina last week informed them that the facility would be used for a “command activity.”

    Sources said it could be Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd who could have asked Espina to forego the holding of the VACC event, especially since the guest of honor and speaker would be Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, a possible candidate for President who might run against Roxas in the 2016 elections.

    Duterte, in his speech, claimed that he was invited to be Roxas’ running mate in next year’s polls but that he politely declined the offer in the belief that he stands no chance in the balloting if he will run with Roxas.

    The Manila Times asked VACC chairman Dante Jimenez if the information about Roxas’ intervention was true but he only replied: “Hearsays are running wild. Only Espina can answer that.”

    In an interview, Jimenez expressed deep resentment over Espina’s action.

    The outgoing PNP head was supposed to be a recipient of the top VACC award.

    The board decided to downgrade his award from being a recipient of the Medal of Excellence to just being a simple awardee.

    “The victims and their families denounced what he [Espina] did to us. I myself did not sleep for days because of this problem. He abandoned us,” Jimenez said.

    In an apparent reference to Roxas, the VACC chief added, “He could not have done that without the instruction of somebody higher than him.”

    Jimenez said Espina, who, in several text messages to him, seemed eager to attend the occasion but eventually decided to boot the group out.

    He thanked retired Philippine Air Force Maj. Gen. Melchor Rosales who helped the VACC secure a venue at the AFP Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, also in Quezon City.

    The jampacked anniversary celebration was held at Dimalupig Hall of the Officers’ Club.

    Jimenez said Rosales managed to have the venue reserved for them only last Monday.

    Espina did not attend the event and instead sent Director Benjamin Magalong to receive the award on his behalf.

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