I jazzed up the title of my friend, Ellen Tordesillas', account in her blog of the latest entry in the GMA Hall of Shame. Kapag nagnakaw sa itaas, syempre magnanakaw din sa baba. And because May 2010 is only less than two years away, the name of the game is: "Last two minutes, last two minutes."
BY Ellen Tordesillas
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
While the world is in financial crisis and Filipinos are tightening their belts some more, the top brasses of the Philippine National Police are living it high.
News report say two police generals, Police General Eliseo de la Paz, director for comptrollership until Oct. 9 and PNP Region 9 chief Director Jaime Caringal, together with their wives are being held in Moscow pending completion of the probe on the 120,000 euros (roughly P6.9 million), found with Mr. Maria Fe de la Paz while they were exiting the Russian capital last Saturday.
The amount of 120 euros exceeds the allowable amount of $10,000 (roughly 7,365 euros) for each airline passenger.
De la Paz and Caringal were part of an eight-man delegation who attended the three-day International Police Assembly in Petersburg, which started October 7. Other members of the “high-powered Philippine delegation were Deputy Director General Emmanuel Carta, PNP deputy chief for administration; Deputy Director General Ismael Rafanan, PNP deputy chief for operations; Director Romeo Ricardo, PNP director for plans; Director German Doria, PNP chief for human resource and doctrine development; Director Silverio Alarcio, PNP director for operations; and Supt. Elmer Pelobello.
De la Paz, Caringal, Carta and Alarcio brought along their wives. Zeny Versoza, wife of PNP Chief Jesus Versoza, was also with the group.
Why was Mrs. Versoza there? Without her husband there, what’s her personality in that conference?
Poor Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome. As PNP spokesman, he has the agonizing job of trying to justify the embarrassing practice of his superiors. He said that the wives “traveled on their own personal capacities.” Really?
But even if they paid for their fare (I imagine they got free hotel accommodation because they would be sharing the room with their husbands) they would have to be attended to by the hosts in terms of seats during meals and transport when they shop and see the sights while their husbands are attending the conference.
Another anomalous thing that this incident exposed is the PNP’s criteria for sending officials abroad.
Government officials are sent to conferences in other countries, which cost a lot, so that they can learn something which rthey are expected to use in their work to the benefit of the country. Presence in international conferences is also a good way to establish a network which could be utilized in an official’s job.
De la Paz was due to retire Oct. 9. The PNP knew that. Why was he allowed to take that trip, using taxpayers’ money a few days before his retirement? Isinama pa ang asawa. What’s the taxpayers’ benefit from the attendance of De la Paz in that conference?
Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said De la Paz was there as the group’s budget officer. An eight- man delegation needs a budget officer? Why, can’t those officials handle the budgeting of their own expenses? They must have brought oodles and oodles of money to need a budget officer for the trip.
The PNP said the 120,000 euros found with Mrs. De la Paz was a “contingency fund” for the group. The PNP released to the Moscow-bound officials a separate P2.3 million for their traveling expenses and allowances. Bartolome said the group has spent about P200,000 from the contingency fund.
The underpaid Mamang Pulis who could not catch criminals because his dilapidated vehicle oftentimes run out of gasoline must be stunned by the privileges of his superiors.
Many are wondering, what if the Russians did not discover the 120,000 Euros? Could it have ended in someone’s foreign account as what the disgraced general Carlos Garcia did with money intended for the soldiers?
It seems officials of Gloria Arroyo didn’t learn from the Carlos Garcia affair. Or, on second thought, they must have learned a valuable lesson from it: big- time thieves don’t get punished.