For the very first time, since 2001, I feel a sense of belonging to an institution I once served with pride, dignity and honor. For the first time in 10 years I feel the respect accorded to a former chief of the PNP. For nine long years under the previous administration I felt like a viral burden. A bacterium if you will, so hazardous to the careers of police officers that they had to avoid me like a … plague. In many instances I myself refused even eye contact with my former officers, mindful that their careers and assignments would very well be put at risk.
The … opportunists in the police ranks saw a gold mine indeed. They invented crafty intelligence reports from the most bizarre to the most ludicrous. Even fabricated evidence and joined the rat race, hoping to reap the reward from their commander-in-chief who hated me so much that she was willing to dangle the carrot of promotion and juicy assignments to whoever could put me behind bars or put me away for good. A good consolation prize awaited those who would at least make my life miserable.
I remember a former head of this very office who knowingly certified an erroneous handwriting specimen analysis of the once infamous fictitious character named Jose Pidal. That single act immediately landed him a police regional director assignment in a jueteng-rich region further south of Metro Manila, and a star promotion.
That’s the politics of life. Sometimes, crime pays. Well, temporarily, I suppose.
Somebody said, there are only two kinds of friends in this world. The envious and the jealous drop out on your way up. The opportunistic ones drop out on your way down. In my own personal experience I found out there is a rare third kind: those who will stand by you through thick and thin, come hell or high water.
So much for that. I am here in my capacity as chairman of the PNP Foundation Inc. to lead the turnover of some modest equipment, donations to the PNP Crime Laboratory Service. The PNP Foundation Inc. is the brainchild of some civic-minded individuals who wanted to show appreciation to the PNP after they saw and felt some positive changes in the attitude and character of our police officers, be it behind their desks or out in the streets: when kotong became a thing of the past, when police officers stopped using recovered stolen motor vehicles, when our waistlines no longer exceeded 34 inches, when corruption in the procurement of our equipage was nil, and so forth and so on. So they formed a foundation to be funded by donations from the private sector, its monies held in perpetuity with only the time interests and earnings to be disbursed to purchase equipment or donation as what we have just turned over this morning.
Out of more than P336 million in pledges in the year 2000, more than half was actually turned over to the Foundation, to be held in perpetuity. The amount has remained intact, since then, as provided for in the Foundation’s charter. To date, out of the revenues generated from the initial seed money, the Foundation has donated a total amount of over P41 million in equipment and other items solely to the PNP being its only client beneficiary. Future donations are on stream such as an auditorium and seminar rooms of the PNP Training School in the amount of P2.5 million; the rehabilitation of the PNP SAF obstacle course in Fort Santo Domingo, with a budget of P1 million, to name a few.
Modesty aside, and with the permission of the members of the board, most of whom are pioneers of this Foundation, I would like to state here and now that this was my own version of pabaon when I left the PNP in January of 2001.
Anyway, I am happy to take note of the fact that under the present leadership of Director General Raul Bacalzo and his command group, there are indeed serious and honest efforts to institutionalize reforms that we initiated over a decade ago, taking a cue from the reform-oriented administration of President Noynoy Aquino, I can only hope that the coming chiefs will carry on what Director General Bacalzo is now undertaking.
The future comes one day at a time. And the future of the PNP largely depends on its leadership. A flawed and morally weak leadership is the last thing that the police organization needs. From an outsider looking in, I can rest easy with the thought that under a decent and professional leader like Police Director General Bacalzo, the PNP which no one member loves more than the other is in good hands. Mabuhay ang PNP. Maraming salamat po.