CRIME is down in my dear Quezon City except for murders owing to the number of victims of summary executions whose bodies are being dumped in different parts of the city apparently as a warning for defiant criminals to stop their illegal activities or they would also end up dead.
My friend, Q.C. Police District director, soon-to-be Chief Superintendent Gilor Eleazar told me recently that crime rate in Q.C. particularly theft and robbery cases have been reduced to a significant level although just like in other parts of Metro Manila, the number of murder incidents has doubled due to the presence of murder victims being dumped in the city.
Eleazar, a former director of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group said that since the end of June, the weekly average of robbery cases has gone down to 20 compared to 34 between December 2015 and June 2016. Similarly, theft cases have also decreased to a weekly average of 47 from 64. Again, he attributed the reduction in crime to their stepped-up campaign against drugs since almost all of the suspects arrested by his men were found to be under the influence of shabu and other substances.
“Sometimes, they resort to robbery and theft to sustain their vice,” the member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1987 told me when I accompanied officials of the Q.C. Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce led by Daniel Ching and good friend, fellow journalist Jimmy Cheng to his Camp Karingal office. Eleazar told us that his men have already knocked on the doors of more than 4,500 households in Q.C. as part of their own Oplan: Kapak or ‘Katok, Pakiusap.’
As of July 31, Eleazar said 5,485 confessed drug users and 456 drug pushers have yielded to the QCPD while 459 others were arrested on drug-related charges. Another 32 were killed while exchanging fire with Q.C. policemen. Eleazar said the war versus drugs ordered by PNP chief, Gen. Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa will also spare no one, even their brothers in arms.
Two weeks ago, QCPD anti-narcotics agent, Senior Inspector Ramon Castillo was killed in a firefight with his colleagues after he sensed an entrapment operation. Eleazar said it pains him to see one of his men dead, leaving behind an orphaned family. However, he said that it gives him greater pain to see countless families destroyed by drugs being peddled by rogues in uniform. May this serve as a warning to others.
In his first State-of-the-Nation-Address, President Duterte said the war on drugs won’t have any let-up ‘until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or put, either behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish.’ My own estimate shows than more than 400 armed drug dealers have been killed in gunbattles with the police since July 1, over 4,000 have been arrested and more than 500,000 confessed drug users have surrendered as a result of the ongoing PNP Project: Double Barrel and Oplan: Tokhang.
Eleazar said it pains them to see one of their colleagues dead in a shootout with his fellows. “Masakit isipin kasi me asawa at mga anak din siya pero ang mas masakit dito ay ang mga pamilya ng mga batang mabibiktima ng droga niya,” he told me. Eleazar has sacked over 100 QCPD personnel as part of his program to rid the QCPD of rogues particularly anti-narcotics policemen who are supposed to be helping the police rid the streets of drugs and pushers but as it turned out, have been recycling shabu they are confiscating from drug dealers in the city and reselling them back to the streets.
Eleazar told me that prior to the deadly buy-bust operation, they have confirmed the illegal drug activities of the suspect and admitted that some of his policemen-partners are now undergoing investigation. “Sana lahat ng ating kapulisan ay tumalima, dapat tayong lahat ay maging ehemplo,” he said. The official said he is getting full support from NCRPO chief, my basketball teammate and soon-to-be Police Director Oca Albayalde in his effort to cleanse the QCPD of misfits and scalawags.
As part of his cleansing program, Eleazar has ordered the inspection of the offices and drawers of the police personnel he has ordered relieved of their post. Over the past few days, those inspections have led in the discovery of drugs, paraphernalia and even ‘tawas’ made to appear as ‘shabu’ in the lockers of some of the QCPD policemen including that of Castillo.
Keeping drug evidence is a major crime under the law, every Filipino must law. Section 27 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 says something about the “Criminal Liability of a Public Officer or Employee for Misappropriation, Misapplication or Failure to Account for the Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment Including the Proceeds or Properties Obtained from the Unlawful Act Committed.”
The law says that ‘the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00), in addition to absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office, shall be imposed upon any public officer or employee who misappropriates, misapplies or fails to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment including the proceeds or properties obtained from the unlawful acts as provided for in the law.’
It also says that “any elective local or national official found to have benefited from the proceeds of the trafficking of dangerous drugs as prescribed in the law, or have received any financial or material contributions or donations from natural or juridical persons found guilty of trafficking dangerous drugs as prescribed in this Act, shall be removed from office and perpetually disqualified from holding any elective or appointive positions in the government, its divisions, subdivisions, and intermediaries, including government-owned or –controlled corporations.”
Section 28 of RA 9165 also says something on the Criminal Liability of Government Officials and Employees. It states that ‘the maximum penalties of the unlawful acts provided for in the Law shall be imposed, in addition to absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office, if those found guilty of such unlawful acts are government officials and employees.”
Section 29 also is very strict when it comes to ‘plating of evidence.’ The law says that ‘any person who is found guilty of “planting” any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical, regardless of quantity and purity, shall suffer the penalty of death.’ In the absence of death penalty in the country, the automatic penalty of life imprisonment awaits rogue officers involved in ‘planting of evidence.’