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By: Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Integrity plays a very integral factor in the life of every person whether in the performance of one’s job or plain and simple day-to-day activities.

Director-General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, swears he never loses faith in the integrity of his Special Action Force (SAF) men assigned to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) despite allegation of their involvement in the resurgence of the illegal drug trade.

Since SAF is considered the most disciplined among police units, the PNP Chief assigned more than 400 of its troopers to man the NBP and replace some of its prison guards to address the problem.

The controversial allegation that SAF members are in cahoots with some inmates in reviving the drug trade was made by no less than Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, whose office controls the entire NBP.

In order to be fair to the accuser as well as to the accused, Dela Rosa called for an in-depth investigation to look into Aguirre’s claim.

Personally, Dela Rosa views this as the narco bosses’ ploy to ruin the SAF’s reputation after they found themselves hurting from a slowdown in business. If the smear job runs successful, he sees the SAF’s departure from the NBP.

However, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Benjamin de los Santos, a retired police superintendent, disclosed the involvement of a SAF member in the theft of P208,000 cash and a 32-inch Sony Bravia TV inside the NBP chapel.

De los Santos referred to the suspect merely as “Sergeant” who supposedly confessed to the crime in May before he was reassigned to Bohol.

The suspect made it appear that he was conducting a drug raid when he stole the items with the help of two inmates clad in SAF uniform. He apologized to the BuCor chief because he could not return the money which was already “gone” and was allegedly unaware of who got hold of the TV.

To my mind, what Sergeant did was an individual act and not reflective of the SAF unit.

Let me clarify that I’m not saying everyone is tarnished. Still, the involvement of a lot of cops in all sorts of corrupt activities has long been in the news. This is the reason why the PNP is working hard to win the people’s trust back.

Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

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