AN urgent order of business for the Philippine National Police (PNP) is to flush out possible sleepers in its ranks.
This agenda takes on greater import in light of recent discovery that a PNP official has apparently been “sleeping with the enemy,” as the police organization’s chief and Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa put it on Monday.
De la Rosa was referring to police superintendent Maria Cristina Nobleza, who was arrested in Bohol province last week in the company of terrorists from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), which is affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or IS.
He said they will file criminal and administrative charges against Nobleza, deputy director of the Davao Regional Office’s Crime Laboratory, and then dismiss her from the police service.
The PNP can’t simply let her get away just like that because, police or no police, the woman is guilty of treason as the evidence suggests.
One definition of treason is “the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies.”
Incidentally, the offense is punishable by death under the recently passed law on capital punishment for heinous and political crimes.
Authorities found that Nobleza—when arrested at a checkpoint in Bohol she was sending text messages to Abu Sayyaf bandits to rescue some of their comrades who had helped raid a village in the province—is the girlfriend of Reenor Lou Dungon, alias Kudre, a suspected ASG bomb-maker and a relative of the slain founder of the group, Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani.
The unmasking of Nobleza shows that the PNP has been sleeping on the job, complacent in the belief that politics or ideology had no place in its organization.
It apparently thought that it was only “scalawags” who are eating up the organization when those with far more dangerous ideologies are just biding their time.
Even with that line of thinking, the PNP’s avowed promise to rid itself of rogue members has not had much success, if it can come up with a line at all to brag about.
Throughout history, it is not uncommon for warring camps to make their spies or agents sit it out for months, even years, before they are instructed by their handlers to strike and strike hard.
In recent times, seemingly harmless individuals whom many mothers would love turned out to be traitors of the first order during the Cold War.
Think Harold Adrian Russell “Kim” Philby and his associates Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess and Donald Duart Maclean, all double agents for the former Soviet Union.
We need not go into any more cloak-and-dagger stuff because, for one, the Philippines is not officially at war with any country.
That makes it easier for confederates to move around freely because the possibility of being exposed is more unlikely.
The likely sleepers in the PNP and who knows, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), must know about moving around freely in friendly and enemy circles without being caught.
Nobleza was caught all right, but only by accident, a fact that would surely prompt other possible moles to be more careful.
She had just demonstrated that the Abu Sayyaf Group cannot be eliminated through sheer military firepower because the terrorists are fighting a political and ideological war that the police and the military seem to belittle.
To let their guard down one more time as the Asean Summit rolls in the Philippines late this week would be disastrous for the PNP and the AFP, which had set the self-imposed deadline of end-June to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf for good.
We’re holding our breath.