Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gov't agents are used and abused

Being a public servant is no joke. Apart from having low salaries for rendering service to the public, government employees, including law enforcement agents and the military, are being used and abused by top government officials to retaliate against those who tried to implicate the former for wrong-doings in the government service.

That's the trade-off and any law enforcement agent must be prepared to take the bait. Even if he knows for sure that what he is being assigned to do is against his conscience. Just the same, he would do it for the sake of following orders meant to destroy someblody in retaliation for what he had done against certain public figures. However, not all law enforcement agents are the same. And not all of them follow what they were supposed to do against their will.

As a reporter covering then the Central Police District in Quezon City, I was reminded of a certain agent of the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) during the time of President Fidel Ramos, who happened to be a part of the law enforcement team dispatched to investigate the dawn massacre of at least 18 members of the dreaded Kuratong Baleleng Gang along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City many years ago.

The suspected perpetrators were agents of the Philippine Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) then headed by Chief Supt. Panfilo Lacson, who later became the overall police chief when Vice President Joseph Estrada became the president.

Of the invesitgating team, he was the only investigator who went against the strong current. He didn't allow himself to be cowed by pressures from peers that what he was doing was contradictory to top police orders. He went for it anyway, despite the threats to his life and family.

The CIS agent revealed to media that when he peeked into the closed van, he found out that the hands of some of the victims were handcuffed at the time of the massacre. Which only showed that the victims were allegedly salvaged as the group cruised in the dark along Commonwealth Avenue at dawn. His revelations made big headlines in the leading newspapers, contradicting the PACC's report that the victims traded shots with the PACC agents during the incident.

The said CIS agent was put under the protective custody of the government as he appeared on public hearings and investigations made by the proper authorities. Later, he was nowhere to be found. But a few years later, when the issue subsided already, the CIS agent and his family were reported to be exiled somewhere in Canada. How did he get there was already beyond the public's knowledge. But it could be that somebody at the top worked out his successful exit, rather than be silenced forever.

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