Who Will Protect Us?

Manila Bulletin, January 21, 2006 | Go to article overview

Who Will Protect Us?


Byline: Romeo V Pefianco

(Editoras note: When soldiers spy on civilians on government time the damage is terrible as noted by the author.)

JAILBREAK is an ordinary happening in crowded prisons, especially in big cities, provinces, and capital towns. In most cases guards shoot them down or hurt them.

Escapees without tattoo

But recapturing escapees is not always successful. If the governmentas efforts fail prisoners who face trial or await sentencing just roam freely in remote places where they show their tattoo to scare the daylights out of other toughies.

Harsh conditions in jail

Most escapees face severe penalties for rape, murder, robbery, kidnapping for ransom, etc. Thatas the reason they canat wait that long in crowded and hot jails before they are taken to the national prison at Muntinlupa.

Jailbreaks donat always get popular attention and tri-media headlines. Reporters and cameramen donat relish the idea of leaving their families in NCR just to take actual shots of city/provincial cells where detainees lived for months or years.

When VIPs run

But escapees identified as detainees and officers facing mutiny or rebellion charges who escape from a military prison are classified as VIPs. They have special cells to prevent the usual prison escape.

This week most dailies have devoted headlines and long features to four AFP officers who face charges of rebellion. They either escaped or mysteriously left their cells without danger to themselves.

According to the AFP the five officers (one walked away earlier on his way to court), all graduates of the PMA, lack the capacity or influence to cause the governmentas downfall immediately or in the near future. So far only the generals are making the analysis, according to observers, NOT the officers from lieutenant colonel down to second lieutenant.

Spying on the people?

There were disturbing revelations in the Senate last Wednesday. Witnesses and tapes in the hands of the senators disclosed that sophisticated facilities for intelligence gathering were allegedly used to wiretap witnesses, maverick military officers, and opposition politicians.

Whatas the purpose of spying on people and their privacy? …

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