Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Military “reforms” instituted,
Says then army spokesman

A FORMER Army spokesperson admitted corruption to some extent in the military but quickly added that it was by a closely-knit group in the Comptroller’s Office.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner, who is currently commanding the 2nd Special forces Batallion in Bohol told radio anchors of Inyong Alagad in Bohol February 9, 2011, that the investigated corruption happened a long time ago and the army has instituted reforms to correct that.

He said after the General Carlos Garcia investigations, the army has abolished the powerful Comptroller’s office to give in to a system of offices where a check and balance in military resource and fiscal management is inset.

Gen. Garcia, who used to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Armed Forces of the Philippines  was charged with plunder at the office of the Ombudsman for allegations of dipping his fingers into the army funds.

“In lieu of the abolished office which has lumped all fiscal functions under its tasks,” the outspoken and glib army officer said the “Resource Management, Fiscal Management, Accounting and Internal Audit Offices are formed”.

“We and our men in the fields have felt the benefits of the reform,” Lt. Col Brawner, who pointed out “new uniforms and equipment as well as logistics now come on schedule to the men in the fields.”

“We condole and sympathize with the friends and family members of General Angelo Reyes and we are saddened by his death,” Brawner aired. 

General Reyes, retired AFP Chief and Barwner’s boss shot himself to death early morning Tuesday, February 8 at the grave of his mother Purificacion at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina.

Earlier, while being investigated on allegations of corruption as former AFP Chief, Reyes said he would never do anything to tarnish the good name of his mother, who was a retired public school teacher.

Over his death, Brawner said the army in Bohol flew the flags in camp at half mast until his burial to honor their former chief.

We hope this is the last of this kind of incident in the country for the nation and for our soldiers, the special forces commanding officer said.

Despite all these, the junior officer assigned at Riverside Bilar camp said the army supports the investigation for the reason of ferreting out the truth.

Our men in the fields deserve to know, he shared even as he assured his men’s professionalism to remain focused to their mission in Bohol. (racPIABohol)

Drug syndicates eye call center
Agents, “complicated” women

NARCOTIC agents recently admit drug trafficking syndicates diversify into recruiting call center agents and social network members as drug mules.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Jose Gutierrez Jr. shared Wednesday that drug syndicates eye call center agents for their fluency in language and their glib speaking prowess.

On the other hand, he said syndicates are also prone to seek women who put in complicated status in their profiles.

Short of saying that these women could easily be lured into “quick” marriages, Gutierrez hinted that syndicates go to great lengths especially into marrying to legitimize the travel of drugs using clean couriers.

Moreover, persons with these characteristics can easily slip through borders in the guise of tourists or fiancées only to jump into the trap of illegal business of transporting drugs.

At the Visayas Launching of the government’s Anti-Drug Mule program, General Gutierrez said several countries are more considerate on women and children, or those pregnant women while traveling so they could slip through casua. frisking at airports or boundaries.

The frisking of women has become a standard operation procedure as the PDEA has notice that the recent modus operandi is to hide the stash, not anymore on false bottom luggage.

He said drug syndicates have asked their couriers to hide the drugs in their under apparels or in their body parts, as some PDEA have netted packages inserted in women’s sex organs.

The latest modus is to ask the courier to swallow the packed drugs and cross borders only to retrieve the package as one relieves across borders, said Gladys Rosales, PDEA operations and planning officer. 

Gutierrez said he has witnessed the growing number of OFWs arrested and detained for transporting illegal drugs and narcotics.

“It is sad,” the retired military general said, “because they are unwittingly lured to earn substantial amount of fast buck” by taking advantage of our poverty.

They may pay for the applicant’s airfare, pays placement fees, marries women and makes sure these workers get used to lavish spending so that as contract work expires, they are left craving for the luxurious life.

These people in difficult situations now would be easily pushed into the high paying but extremely dangerous drug trafficking.

The issue has become alarming as the figures show.

From two arrests in 1993, some 689 have Filipino’s have been arrested as drug couriers in 2010, said Gutierrez. (racPIABohol)

PDEA runs after drug
Personalities on foot?

WHETHER we like it or not, narcotics agents can not run after drug personalities on foot.

But, despite operating on a major debility without a vehicle and seemingly anemic logistical funds, Bohol narcotic agents still make their presence felt as they score arrests.

Intelligence officer Janet Reyes, in a radio interview admitted that the local office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) still hopes to get a mobility asset which they can use to operate independently.

She said the drug operations now are all done in coordination by the Philippine National Police.

According to the office mandates, the PDEA is tasked to spearhead the anti drug operations, but absent any transportation asset, they are forced to ride with the police and other government enforcement offices who conduct and coordinate these activities.

Gratefull for Capitol’s offer to end a vehicle every time the PDEA conducts a raid, Reyes earlier said they would rather operate using an unmarked and unidentifiable vehicle to assure positive results.

She also said PDEA coordinated raids to other enforcement agencies can have information leaks which may prove difficult to produce arrests.

Moreover, PDEA through information Officer Steven Valles also shared that they are in a difficult situation in as much as they can not expose their assets on the streets as this would cause them identity burn-outs.

Going after drug personalities is going against a whole developed network of drug pushers and drug informants who sell information and protect their interests, Valles admitted. 

While drug problem failed to get into the top ten concerns of Boholanos in the past years, the threat has barged into meetings of the peace and order councils, causing undue alarm.

At this, Bohol media has pushed for government if not concerned civil society support to get the PDEA office in Bohol the right capacity and equipment to chase criminals.

At the Inyong Alagad, radio broadcaster Fred Araneta issued the call for well meaning citizens to possibly help the PDEA in their predicament. (racPIABohol) 

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