Lying through his teeth (Part Two)

P/Major Rodney Raymund Baloyo IV lied so badly that it’s hard to believe any person with average intelligence would buy his story. But there’s one individual who apparently still holds to the sanctity of Baloyo’s testimony: his boss way back in November 2013, now P/Director General Oscar Albayalde.

That’s incredible.

It’s a basic principle in military leadership that a commander must be informed of everything that goes on under his watch at all times. And this dictum is taken very seriously at all levels of command in the armed forces and the national police. No subordinate will even think of doing anything without his commander’s knowledge and approval. The consequences are dire.

This is particularly true for a commander and his intelligence officer. If there is anybody in the unit that a commander trusts over and above anybody else, it’s the intelligence officer. After all, he is the eyes and ears of the commander.

Put these facts together and one reaches the inevitable conclusion that there is a far deeper bond that ties the two. Until Thursday, Albayalde continued to uphold the story of Baloyo, even after the public scolding he got from Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon. He simply refuses to abandon his subordinate. And his subordinate willingly went to jail to protect his version.

Questions. We can only raise questions.

  1. Did Albayalde know beforehand what Baloyo was planning to do, and he gave his approval?
  2. Granting that Albayalde had no knowledge, did he fail to discern the fakery in the after-action report filed by Baloyo?
  3. And after the scandal blew up, didn’t Albayalde look into the evidence of the CIDG and the PNP Regional Office 3 that led to the filing of criminal and administrative cases against Baloyo and his men?

It would seem that Albayalde deliberately ignored the evidence against Baloyo and his men. He played possum all the way. More than that, he was always protective of Baloyo. In a SunStar Pampanga story, Albayalde was quick to defend Baloyo when the latter was relieved of his post as Police Chief of San Fernando, Pampanga in January 2014. Baloyo was just due for schooling for promotion purposes, Albayalde said.

Hence, the biggest question: Is Albayalde covering up for Baloyo, just as Baloyo is covering up for Albayalde?

More than a hundred million pesos of shabu taken from the residence of Johnson Lee flooded the Central Luzon illegal drugs market in the weeks and months after the operation, forcing prices to go down.

Baloyo and his men went on a shopping spree for expensive vehicles than even Camp Crame noticed, and sent investigators headed by then CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong to conduct a probee.

Only Albayalde failed to see the truth, or so it seemed.

Is Baloyo protecting Albayalde to the extent that he was jailed for obvious lying? The Senate justice committee should pursue this angle. The nation deserves to know the truth.

Leadership in a crisis

As the whole of the national capital region and neighboring provinces struggled to stay afloat on Tuesday (Aug. 20), the second day of the great deluge, I began seeing questions on Facebook and Twitter about the whereabouts of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.

From morning till evening, television networks broadcast footages of wide areas under water and rescue operations being undertaken by volunteers groups, the military and the police. On Monday, several towns and cities in Cavite, Pampanga and Bulacan were inundated, and it was basically each to its own for the LGUs in coping for the crisis.

The entire nation was shocked at the images that assaulted them on media, including the Internet, showing the magnitude of the floods. It was a scene never before seen in the country. In a word, “waterworld” became the common term to describe what had become of the affected areas. There was hardly any place which remained dry, as in not hit by floods. Even the business district, Makati City, submerged.

In the face of this calamity, the absence of the President on national television became more palpable. And this is what triggered a long thread of discussion on Twitter between Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte and several tweeps on the issue. One of those who tweeted quizzically was ABS-CBN reporter RG Cruz (@1RGCruz).

Valte tried to deflect the criticism on the President’s absence with her tweets. She said the President’s absence was not necessary because the agencies involved were doing his job. She got help from several tweeps. For two days, as the floods engulfed the national capital, the people didn’t catch a glimpse of the President, nor did they reassuring words from him

I insisted that a leader must be highly visible during a crisis. I got support from fellow blogger, Pastor Eyriche Cortez (@pastor_ey). But the defenders of P-Noy said the President would be criticized for being epal had he gone out on national media to assure the nation. Pastor Eyriche and I replied: that should have been the least of his worries.

Indeed, why is it that we want to see leaders at the forefront in times of crisis?

John Maxwell said: “A leader’s visible presence during times of crisis inspires confidence and gives others a sense of security.” It might be all about appearances, but in a crisis, that is all that matters. When two aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani set the tone for how to deal with crisis by being on the ground immediately. He took command of the situation, and for the next several days, directed the crisis management team and taking time to console the families of the victims.

The bottom line is that leaders cannot afford to go ‘below radar’ when there is a crisis. He is the rallying point for rescue workers and victims alike. A 5-minute appearance on national television could have gone a long way to assuage the fears of the people. In his case, P-Noy showed up on the third day, and his report on the state of the calamity wasn’t even new. The time for comforting and consoling had long passed.

I watched TV Patrol interview the flood victims, and one of them remarked that the few minutes she had seen the President bolstered her hopes that things would be okay. It validated this view that leaders need to be visible in times of crisis. The President might not be able to stop the floods, but at least he can show the people he is doing all he could.

There was a quote attributed to the President on why he made himself scarce during those two days. He didn’t want, he said, to be blamed if things went wrong. “Kung pumalpak kasi, ako ang sisihin,” he said. What kind of a leadership statement is that? In a crisis, a wrong decision is better than no decision at all. That statement is a give-away on the lack of leadership on his part.

Time and again, it’s been said that it takes a crisis to reveal the character of a leader. P-Noy was tested by this crisis. Unfortunately, he miserably failed.Image

Pototan: Iloilo’s ‘jueteng’ capital

Shortly after the present administration at the Iloilo capitol assumed power on June 30, there were stirrings in the town of Pototan, Iloilo as at least three “jueteng”, which is known locally as “daily double”, operators began to set up shop and bring the illegal numbers game back in business in the province. “Daily double” was absent, except for occasional guerilla-type operations, during the nine years of the Tupas administration, and the changing of the guard at the Iloilo capitol was a signal that the red carpet was now being laid out. Where Tupas strictly barred the illegal numbers game, there was now explicit consent from the capitol.

“Jueteng” has once again captured the headlines after retired Lingayen archbishop Oscar Cruz accused unnamed officials in the Aquino administration as receiving “payola” from operators. The amounts are not peanuts — two officials get no less than P2 million a month, Cruz said.

It’s not a secret that “jueteng” is an almost inexhaustible treasure vault of illicit cash. The “jueteng lords,” as the operators of the illegal numbers game are known, raked in hundreds of millions of pesos in earnings every year. That’s the reason in the province of Pampanga, “jueteng” has achieved complete domination of local politics. Fr. Ed Panlilio’s reform-oriented governorship was no match for the oodles of money given out by his rival, Lilia Pineda, who snatched the position from him after just one term. Lilia is the wife of “jueteng” lord Bong Pineda. Hence, politicians found it hard to resist “jueteng”, and it was only in Iloilo province where its promise of easy money wasn’t as welcome during the time of Tupas.

From our personal experience, I can attest that “jueteng” can’t flourish unless there is explicit approval from the capitol. The fact that it has now found its way back into the province, and even sits arrogantly in Pototan, is prima facie evidence that “jueteng” money is greasing hands in the governor’s office. Add to this the designation of P/Senior Supt. Gil Lebin as Iloilo provincial director upon express request of Defensor. Lebin was assigned in Pampanga for quite a while when Mikey Arroyo was congressman in that province. Add one plus one, and you can understand how Lebin would fit into the formula for making Iloilo the new frontier for “jueteng”. Lebin, by the way, is a native son of Pototan, Iloilo.

Strike One?