By Mortz Ortigoza
Last week a national newspaper carried on its front page for almost the entire week the brouhaha raised by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association through Philippine National Police’s spokesman Reuben Theodore Sindac on the possibility of the PNP accepting on its officers corps graduates of the Philippine Military Academy. I was relishing reading the almost successive negative comments posted by readers on the broadsheet’s online version. A reader said the plan to get alumni from the Baguio City- based academy was because being assigned at the PNP is a lucrative post than being assigned in the Army, Navy, or the Marines.
He opined that in these three branches of service a PMAyer who is already a general is not yet a “millionaire” while a police senior inspector (captain in the armed forces) has already been collecting his first million being a chief of police in a town where jueteng, drop ball, video karera, tupada, and other illegal transactions thrive. “The only thing that an army guy can enrich himself was when the area he commands has illegal logging or illegal mining run by syndicates.
Susmariosep, I remembered a story on air by veteran broadcaster the late actor-villain Rod Navarro at DZXL. He said when he was with the Criminal Intelligence Service (Navarro was a retired PC master sergeant before he joined the celluloid screen) in the 1970s, a young constable of the CIS (precursor of the present Criminal Intelligence Detection Group (CIDG) knocked at the door of the sakla-an (gambling den) in Tondo, Manila. An errand boy of the den asked the constable (a private in the Army) who was the visitor. The operator was told that the young PC was from the CIS and he was there to collect his share from the “protection money.” The errand boy asked the sleuth to wait for a while as he would tell the operator of the sakla-an of his intention. After a few minutes the errand boy returned and gave the CIS operative P100 (P500 in the present rate). After the constable left there was another knock on the door. When the errand boy asked who was the visitor he was told that he was a Colonel de la Cruz from Camp Crame. When the colonel was asked what his position at the PC, he was told that the colonel was the commanding officer of the marching band (banda in Tagalog) of the national headquarters. After a while the factotum, who told his boss the rank and position of the guest, returned and gave the colonel a P20 bill (P100 in the present rate). The fuming colonel asked the errand boy why he was given a pittance while the constable received a P100 bill. “Colonel ako, private lang iyon!” the officer hissed. “Sir, kahit private lang iyong taga CIS may kamandag po iyon,” the giver explained confidently. “Anong ibig mong sabihin na may kamandag?” the colonel posed. The errand boy explained that anytime that guy from the CIS can raid the gambling den, close it and arrest everybody there. While a commanding officer of the marching band of the police has no power to do so because his mandate was to supervise the music played by the marching band in the national police headquarters. “Kaya dapat maging masaya na kayo colonel sa P20 dahil wala naman kayong kamandag (poison),” the errand boy lectured the smarting colonel.
A chief of police of a first class town reminisced the time when illegal gambling jueteng reigned in Pangasinan. He told me that his daily payola in jueteng was much bigger than what he was receiving daily in Jai-Alai run by Meridien. “Sa jueteng P8000 a day (P240, 000 a month) ang hepe dito sa bayan na ito. Pero sa MeridienP5000 (P150,000 a month) lang ako,” he told us media men. He said his men lauded him because all the police force under his command have free meals three times a day and seven days a week compared to other chiefs of police who are “boxer” (euphemism for tight wad). “Budget ko diyan P25, 000 o P75,000 kada linggo”. He said every week he gives cell phone “load” money for his policemen depending on their rank. “Pag PO1, P100, Pag PO2, P200, pag SPO4, P400”. He said other police chiefs could not emulate his feat. They could only treat once a day free meal their men from the proceeds of Jai-Alai – a number game played just like Jueteng.
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