Criminality and the culture of corruption

Not a day passes that a crime is not committed. The rising frequency strongly suggests that we are already at the brink of experiencing anarchy. At almost a daily pace we read headlines reporting about riding in tandem, murder, rape; crimes committed under the influence are committed with impunity. Without even including preliminary 2015 crime statistics, year-on-year data show this worsening trend under the current administration. 2014 data from the Philippine National Police showed that the total crime volume in the country rose by nearly 18 percent (hitting a record crime volume of 631,406 incidents) compared to figures in the earlier year. Moreover this is nearly double than that of the 2010 figure when BS Aquino took over, and almost three times 2012 data of 217,812.

What’s worse is that the rising criminality and the impunity with which these lawless acts are committed are being fed by the culture of corruption that has so ironically spread its roots deep into the very institutions that are supposedly there to protect and guarantee the security and welfare of our people.

If you remember the NSO crime rate statistics which showed a lower crime volume, were in stark contrast to figures revealed by the PNP. The reason —false data were fed by the PNP leaders themselves. Due to this, the PNP relieved several police chiefs among which were those then in charge of the Mandaluyong, Pasay, Taguig cities as well as in Bicol, where three police chiefs were suspended for falsifying accomplishment reports. In the National Capital Region Police Office investigations were launched against seven other chiefs of police and station managers. Adding salt to the wound were the several cases made against erring PNP personnel for various crimes ranging from hulidap, drugs and murder.

Smuggling has risen to astronomical heights with smugglers ever tightening the noose on the lifelines of legitimate and small businesses. Just recently, the already-controversial former Land Transportation Office Chief Virginia Torres again made it to the headlines as the Bureau of Customs accused her of mediating for the release of smuggled shipments of sugar in the custody of the BoC. And yet all Malacañang has done is offer motherly feel-good statements. As a result the crime problem has taken its toll on the nation’s socio-economic situation and a large segment of our people has lost confidence in the law-enforcing agencies of government.

What we need is a full time anti-crime czar. Our opinion is that Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Ballesteros Honasan II would make a great leader of such an agency. All throughout his life, Honasan has been a consistent achiever.  He was even the baron in his Philippine Military Academy class. After joining the Philippine Army, he went into combat duty in Luzon and Mindanao. His distinguished performance in the military earned him three distinguished stars of counter insurgency operations against economic saboteurs and drug traffickers. Aside from the three gold cross medals for gallantry in action in the battles of Lebak, Jolo and Zamboanga in 1973 to 1974, he also received awards such as military merit medals, military commendation medals, anti-insurgency medals, anti-secessionist medals and wounded personnel medals for wounds sustained in actual combat, among others. Definitely, he has both the guts and the competency as an anti-crime czar.

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