I came across a piece written by noted columnist Ricardo Saludo and I would like to share it to you my dear readers in the wake of the Ombudsman’s decision to investigate PNP chief, General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa for accepting Senator Manny Pacquiao’s offer for him and his family to join him in his Las Vegas trip last week ‘all-expenses paid.’
“De la Rosa told media that Pacquiao paid air fare and hotel accommodations—a possible violation of the anti-graft law barring state officials and personnel from receiving expensive gifts. The apparent bias here is not in investigating the Vegas trip, but not doing so for another junket involving a leading official and very close friend of then-President Aquino,” wrote Saludo in his Manila Times column.
“In 2012, then-Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. took his family on a Macau holiday paid for by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, who was seeking a casino license from Pagcor. Then-Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda justified the freebie as “industry practice,” wrote the London and Ateneo-trained writer.
“Now, Madame Ombudsman, which is worse-the Las Vegas trip by PNP Chief de la Rosa paid for by a senator-boxer with no known police concerns, or a Macau vacation for casino czar Naguiat and his family, courtesy of a tycoon angling for a license for his $4-billion, 44-hectare Okada Manila casino resort, scheduled to open this month,” said the former Macapagal-Arroyo Cabinet secretary.
Thank you Sec. Saludo for bringing the matter into our attention.
As ‘Bato’ had repeatedly told us in Camp Crame, he is ready to be jailed for not using Filipino taxpayers’ money and preferring to accept an invitation by Sen. Pacquiao to go to Las Vegas. “Sige lang imbestigahan ako. Makulong ako dahil sa imbitasyon,” the sharpshooting nemesis of criminals said when he welcomed the Ombudsman investigation.
The top cop also maintained that what was important was that he did not use government money in his U.S. trip. He really said it all: “Ang importante dili tayo kurakot kwarta,” (What’s important is that I did not steal the people’s money.” There is also an old Filipino saying which goes like this: ang tatanggi sa grasya ay lalabo ang mata.” One PNP official told me he doesn’t want the Chief to suffer from blindness or poor eyesight.
CONGRATULATIONS TO APOLINARIO, ASPERA
I was present last Monday morning at the PNP Star Lounge when Gen. de la Rosa swore into office two of President Duterte’s most trusted police officials who just like the PNP chief served as Davao City Police Office directors under the former mayor-turned Chief Executive and I would like to congratulate them for their richly-deserved promotion.
I’m referring to brand-new Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985 and currently the PNP Chief Directorial Staff and my basketball teammate, Chief Superintendent Rene Aspera, a member of PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 who is presently the Police Security and Protection Group director.
As Gen. de la Rosa had mentioned, Apolinario and Aspera were former Davao City Police Office chiefs who worked well with then Mayor Duterte in ridding the city of illegal drug trafficking and abuse and transforming Davao into one of the most peaceful cities in the world. Just like him, de la Rosa said the two were also not stranger to charges of violation of human rights but performed their job well and were lucky enough that the city mayor they previously served became a Philippine president.
History will tell that shortly after he won the presidency, Duterte summoned all his trusted police and military generals in Davao City and identified de la Rosa, Apolinario and Aspera as his most trusted police officers. All three however will retire in 2018: de la Rosa in January followed by Aspera in May and Apolinario in August.
Apolinario is currently the 4th highest police official in the land and so far the first member of PMA Class 1985 to become a 3-star police general. On the other hand, Aspera is the sixth member of PMA Class 1987 to become a one-star police general after Chief Supts. Rayland Malenab, Alfred Corpuz, Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Clifton Empiso and Ma-o Aplasca.
Other members of the Class who are on deck to join the star-rank are Senior Supt. Gilor Eleazar of the Quezon City Police District; Senior Supt. Roberto Fajardo of the Northern Police District; Senior Supt. Jigs Coronel of the Manila Police District; and Senior Supt. Tom Apolinario Jr. of the Southern Police District.
Others are Senior Supt. Ringo Licup, the Executive Officer of the PNP Directorate for Operations; Senior Supt. Jonas Calleja, the Executive Officer of the PNP Directorate for Logistics; Senior Supts. Loy Morales, Arnel Escobal, Debold Sinas and Greg Lim, the respective Deputy Regional Director for Administration of Police Regional Office 11, 6, 12 and Cordillera police regional office; and Senior Supt. Lyle Carabbacan. That means 11 are on their way to becoming one-star generals in the days to come.