“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.