Daily Archives: October 1, 2013


“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” Mahatma Gandhi

By Alex P. Vidal

It was not only the cops with lower ranks who bungled in some of their testimonies during last Monday’s (September 30) House committee on public order and safety hearing on the assault by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) on Aksyonradyo Iloilo last August 25.
Some of the panelist members of the House of Representatives were equally erratic if not mediocre in their performance, especially in the way they asked questions.
Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia, for instance, was ignorant about SWAT being a special unit under the Philippine National Police (PNP).
She insisted that if ICPO director, Senior Supt. Ruperto Floro was speaking for the police, someone should also speak for the SWAT. Somebody should have whispered to her that SWAT men are also cops and are all under Floro, before she shot herself in the foot.


Capiz 2nd district Rep. Fredenil Castro also chided Aksyonradyo Iloilo station manager John Paul Tia “not to speculate” when Tia revealed that the video taken from the cellular phone of their chief technician had been erased. If they will review the tape of the hearing, Tia never accused anyone of intentionally deleting the video. He merely mentioned that the video was gone.
Castro also erroneously used the word “edited” in referring to the CCTV footage Aksyonradyo had submitted as evidence. He wanted the entire footage taken for the month of August and not just the “edited” one that showed the SWAT raid. Castro eventually changed his motion for Aksyonradyo to submit only the video taken on the day of the incident.
If Aksyonradyo lawyers were present, we were surprised why they did not coach Tia to correct Castro’s use of the word “edited” which is now part of the record in the hearing.
There’s a whale of difference between the word “edited” and “spliced” which was what Aksyonradyo did, so as not to obviously overburden the viewers. “Edited” means deleting and changing something on the film. “Spliced” means joining two or more pieces of the film at the ends.


Rep. Luis “Jon-Jon” Ferrer IV also wanted to sound cute when he castigated the cops for their “wrong choice of words” saying they are putting the name of entire PNP organization on spot when a SWAT member used the word “nagtatago” (hiding) instead of “nagco-cover” or (covering) in describing the scene where three responding Mandurriao cops led by Insp. Solien Domingo allegedly engaged one security guard in the third floor of Uy bldg (where Aksyonradyo is located) armed with a shotgun.
Ferrer was strict about semantics thinking probably the cops were Harvard scholars who could perfectly inveigle accurate words in a tension-filled hearing.
“Is this part of the SOP (standard operating procedure) that three cops will hide when they encounter a lone security guard?” boomed the over-acting Rep. Castro, who dominated the noise in the hearing with his lousy soliloquy.
Negros Occidental 4th district Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, chair of the committee, also ribbed Tia earlier that “(your statements in this hearing) are only your allegations.” No angels will swear that the testimonies of all invited guests are the gospel truth, of course, Mr. Chairman.


Finally, it’s a consolation that the hearing was spearheaded by some former high-ranking Philippine National Police (PNP) officials who are now members of the House of Representatives.
Since the issue was about police matters, the presence of congressmen Samuel Pagdilao Jr. (Party-list, ACT-CIS ), Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd district, Pangasinan), Rep. Romeo Acop (Antipolo City), Gary Alejano (Partylist, Magdalo) was both needed and necessary. The hearing came to a smooth ending when Region 6 PNP director, Chie Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. picked up the cudgels for his nervous and tormented subordinates who became Rep. Castro’s punching bags since the hearing started in the morning.
God only knows what would have happened if the panelists in the hearing were Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid, and Manny Pacquiao.

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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized


Grandstanding congressman in Aksyonradyo-SWAT hearing

“Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.”
Theodore Roosevelt

By Alex P. Vidal

It was only when Capiz second district Rep. Fredenil Castro stopped talking in the afternoon that the hearing conducted by the House committee on public order and safety on the assault by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) on Aksyonradyo Iloilo last August 25, became smooth and civil, to say the least.
Castro, author of House Resolution No. 237 that sought to investigate the incident, wasted several hours of the hearing at the session hall of the Iloilo provincial capitol with his empty rhetoric, acerbic attitude, and hostile remarks toward some of the invited guests.
He came to castigate and humiliate the cops, not to ferret out the truth. We all know that lapses appeared to be present in the SWAT raid which was widely condemned by media organizations, but Castro wanted those uniformed men involved in the fracas to look pathetic and cowards. His joke that a SWAT member could be attracted to the station’s lady employee was also corny.
When the microphone was given to congressmen, who were formerly high-ranking officials of the PNP, and were therefore more knowledgeable about police matters, salient points have been addressed and questions that needed to be asked earlier were given utmost importance.


We expect reforms in the implementation police operational procedures as a result of the House committee investigation which adjourned at around 2:30 pm September 30.
Lapses have been noted in the employment and deployment of SWAT team, a special unit of the Philippine National Police, which did not have guidelines to regulate its operations as observed by Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, a former police general.
Iloilo third district Rep. Arthur Defensor Jr. wanted the PNP to identify which part of the manual of police operational procedure was applicable in the incident that needs review. Pangasinan second district Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil wanted relationships between the PNP and media “brought back to its original level.”
The congressional investigation, which will continue this month of October or November, is not done to crucify and punish some invited guests or to send the guilty parties in jail. It is in aid of legislation, to determine what law to be passed or amended, in order to institute certain reforms and to prevent a similar problem to occur in the future.


The court will determine who is the guilty party in the Aksyonradyo Iloilo-SWAT imbroglio, not Congress. There will be a different hearing to be conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman to determine the administrative and criminal culpability of the SWAT team headed by its supervisor at the time of the incident, Senior Insp. Joel Bulfa, and Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director, Senior Supt. Ruperto Floro.
We admire the professionalism shown by both parties, especially by Aksyonradyo Iloilo headed by station manager John Paul Tia, who was able to show his solid leadership by presenting the facts of the case in a very calm and clear manner. We also doff our hats off Region 6 PNP director, Chie Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., who rescued his trembling and erratic underlings from disastrous testimonies with his tact and straightforward answers to all the sharp questions thrown at the police organization. Before Chief Supt. Cruz took the microphone, Supt. Floro and other lowly cops interrogated by hot-tempered Rep. Castro were a bizarre caricature in the hearing.

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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized