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ROUGH CUTS | Another corruption-laden deal?                         

OUR till personally unmet friend in the Philippine National Police (PNP), Maj. Gen. Michael John Dubria, is no longer assigned as the head of the Police Intelligence Directorate at the PNP Director General’s office.

     This happened two weeks back after the assumption of the newly appointed PNP chief, now full-fledged Gen. Azurin. Maj. Gen. Dubria is now the Director of the Civil Security Group. His office supervises the FEO and the SOSIA, two units in the police organization that have jurisdiction over the governance of the accreditation, licensing, and operation of civilian security agencies all over the country. When we had a chat over Messenger, we asked Maj. If Gen. Dubria considers his movement a simple lateral transfer of assignment or a promotion, he said he likes to think it is lateral. However, according to the former Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Director, the difference between the two is that as head of the Directorate for Intelligence, he was a staff of the PNP national director. But as head of the Civil Security Group, he is now director of a particular PNP Unit.

     Nonetheless, the General said that his conviction remains wherever he is assigned or called for his service. That is, to do his job the best he could. And he said that he sees his new assignment as one where he could help improve the police by ensuring that civilian security organizations will live up to the expectation of the general public.

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     Now, this particular Department of Budget and Management division is in the limelight again. And what a limelight it is when the office is again thrust into the situation because of suspicion that anomaly is showing its ugly head to the detriment of the former administration.

     It is still very fresh in the people’s minds that a congressional investigation had been conducted during the dying months of the Duterte administration on the alleged highly overpriced purchases of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), face masks and face shields, vaccines, and other items needed by the government for its response to the CoViD 19 pandemic that was on its most serious threat to the Filipinos. The amount involved was not just in millions but billions of pesos. And the suspected culprits were the people running the so-called purchasing division of the DBM headed by one identified to be from Davao City.

     The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the upper house body conducting the probe, came up with a recommendation that the then head of that particular DBM Division, the officials of the company supplying the purchased items, the head of the Department of Health and even President Rodrigo Duterte be charged for the alleged corruption attendant to the big time deal.

     The recommendation, however, ended up down the drain when it did not get the number of signatures from the Senators who were conducting the investigation. So, nothing happened to the suspected perpetrators of the allegedly corrupt-laden transaction at the behest of the DBM purchasing division.

     Now another multi-billion purchase is being red-flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA). This time the department which is supposed to be benefited from the services of the same DBM division is the Department of Education. The items purchased by that division of the DBM are laptops supposedly to be issued to public school children and some to teachers. The transaction was done during the time of the same people at that particular DBM division responsible for the controversial multi-billion Department of Health deal.

     It was reported on national media, not just by the mainstream but by the social media as well, that the laptop units are of low quality, including the operating systems in it. And worst, many gadgets are already unserviceable because of defects.

     It was our understanding that during those times when threats of serious consequences were to be meted by no less than then President Rodrigo Duterte if he were to discover any corrupt officials of his administration, no one would ever dare test the resolve of the President.

     But we were grossly wrong in this expectation. And it is even ironic that people from his city who must have earned his trust ended up as suspects in the acts that the former President abhorred so much.

     While we are not hoping that things will eventually lead to the affirmation of the shenanigans to have been committed by the same group of people, we have no idea why the same anomalous transaction was not averted if, indeed, there were efforts to stomp out corrupt practices by the previous administration.

     So, we feel it is just right that the new administration has decided to do away with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC). After all, the people running that office seem to function only long after the commission of the crime instead of preventing it from happening.

                                                                                                  

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