Monday, February 28, 2011

Showboating of wealth at PMA's alumni rites

by Mortz C. Ortigoza
My wife and kid attended recently the two-day alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City - complement of a high ranking police relative.
They were billeted at the expensive plush two-bedroom suite in the Camp John Hay Manor Hotel.
“Grabe, it’s all expenses paid for the PMAyers.  Even the gas of their vehicles was shouldered by their organizations,” she exclaimed to me through phone.
She told me that “palakihan pa sila ng sasakyan (they brought big cars)” that were gas guzzling multi-million of pesos worth Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) to show boat” their wealth to their classmates.

Many of them were from the Philippine National Police.
I could not agree more.
When I was working at the public information office of the PMA in the early 1990s, I was an avid listener of the morning radio program in Manila of humorous commentator (and also villain-actor) Rod Navarro.
Navarro, a retired Philippine Constabulary CIS (now called as Criminal Investigation Detection Group) operative, emphatically challenged his listeners to show him four (4) army one-star general against his PC colonel who was the Provincial Director (PD) of Pangasinan.
“Bigyan ninyo ako ng apat na one-star general at bibigyan ko kayo ng Colonel X ng Pangasinan (Give me four one-star generals, and I’ll give you one Colonel X),” he thundered at the airwaves (that probably shook the radio frequency of rival commentator Louie Beltran at DZRH) as he compared the access to wealth by a police officer against those in the military.
Over bottles of beers, veteran media men collaborated what I heard from Navarro.
They told me their experiences with that colonel when he was at the helm of the provincial police of one of the biggest provinces in the country.
“Grabe, nuung pumunta kaming tatlo sa opisina niya inutusan niya iyung police. Nuung bumalik mi dala  ng isang supot ng pandesal na puno ng tig-bibiente at tig-si-singkuenta na galing pa sa jueteng (My God, when we dropped by at his office, he asked his subordinate to get something. When the policeman returned he was carrying one bag for a pandesal (famous bread in the Philippines) that was full of bills of P20 and P50 in denominations),” the media man enthused.
One of them said the generous colonel was apologetic by telling them to just divide among themselves the money that ran up to thousands of pesos.
When Victor Agbayani was the governor of Pangasinan  in the early 2000s, a high ranking police officer told me that  a PD received P1.5 million to P2 million a month in jueteng revenues.
A son of a former city mayor also told me that during the stint of his father, a chief of police then received P400 thousand a month, while his father received three times (P1.2 million of what the chief received a month). But a jueteng operator in a town in Central Pangasinan disagreed about this. He said the “ingresso (gross three –times a day remittances)” of the illegal number game is bigger in that city than what I was told. After computing mentally the ingresso, he told me the former mayor there should be receiving P53, 333 a day or P1.6 million a month.
Forgive me if I made you dear readers inebriated about these “tales”, but susmariosep here is another one that would conclude my narration that I could not be telling you here if I stayed at the academe doing the redundant work of teaching political science to uninteresting college students.
Over a bottle of whisky, a retired police general snapped to the information relayed to him by fellow PMAyer about the monthly pay of a “corporation” of P700,000 for a retired star ranked like him incase he wants to work again.
“Maliit iyan! Nuung ako ay RD (Regional Director of the national police), P5 million a month na ako sa jueteng (That’s a pittance! When I was the Regional Director of the national police, I received P5 million a month from the operator of illegal number game).
With all these chutzpah from police officials, those in the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air force could only cry with their hearts out with envy every time they saw their “mistah” (terminology a PMA graduate used to address a classmate) in a social gathering like the PMA Alumni Homecoming.
But the public and their unfortunate mistahs should not felt so bad about their fate. With retired and active generals and colonels being grilled and humiliated publicly by our grandstanding senators particularly, every body knows now the source of these ostentatious displays of wealth.
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