What’s brewing in Magallon?

SOMEONE sent me a thick envelop containing the documents on the case filed by the PNP against the Vice Mayor of Moises Padilla, Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo and her husband, Felix Mathias Segundo Feria Yulo and Conrad Garcia y Dubouzet. It is tough reading considering the way policemen and lawyers write their cases that would make Francis Bacon writhe in his grave and students of literature climb the walls with their fingernails.

Moreover, the facts claimed and disputed by the parties are beyond the scope of this column for discussion so that it is rather improbable to present them in detail. We shall let the law take its course because the court is where it is heading. It is presumptuous on our part to intervene with our opinion that can sway public perception.

The documents, however, will be good reference for the future considering the seriousness of the accusations and the personalities, known and yet unknown, who are involved. Despite this flow of thought, there are some things that need commentary as they are glossed over in the complaint filed or have these been discussed in public but probably can open the public mind to take a look at this case, not merely as police matter but of public interest.

The motivations of each party are not clear. People don’t act without a motive, a purpose. In criminal investigations, three things most probably will provide the answer: means, opportunity and motive. In the case against Vice Mayor Garcia, there is no mention of the motivations of the police; they were enforcing an order.

The Magallon or Moises Padilla police, were already positioned in Crossing Magallon, that intersection where the roads from and to Magallon, La Castellana and Isabel meet. Why were they already so positioned? Did they have a tip that the vice mayor and party would pass by and that they were carrying illegal weapons? If they had suspected that, why did they not secure a search warrant? Of course we can understand the constraints of time. Nevertheless, the suspicion must be on solid ground – is this the reason the Chief of Police of Magallon was already in the check point?

There is something that Vice Mayor Garcia mentioned in her counter-affidavit that was not mentioned in the press. According to her that afternoon of December 19, 2017, she presided over the session of the Sangguniang Bayan voting on third reading the budget of the town for 2018. She said that while the budget was approved unanimously the “budget of the Office of the Municipal Mayor was reduced from 21 Million Pesos to 15 Million Pesos”. The slashed item was “support to the PNP which is basically for the salaries and the wages of Barangay Patrol (BPAT) from 3.2 Million Pesos to P800,000.”

That’s a lot of money slashed from the PNP assistance budget but the SB reasoned that it had been asking Magallon Mayor Magdaleno Peña “for the list of names and corresponding salaries for all casuals contracted including the BPAT and the supporting MOA, etc. which were not submitted”.

Fair enough. In Bacolod, the Sanggunian does not bother with that – it just approves whatever Mayor Evelio Leonardia sends, even a questionable contract, under the principle that they all belong to the same political party, the Grupo Progreso, and divergence is disloyalty to the party and thus punished accordingly.

Does the reduction of their expected wages the reason that members of the BPAT were in the checkpoint and actively assisted the police although they are not policemen?

The complaint against the vice mayor and her husband and their companion does not consider the motive of the police because the respondents were supposedly “caught in flagrante” or caught in the act with illegal weapons. But has the slashing of their budget got the PNP to retaliate by using the reported order of the provincial director of December 19 “to delay and deter possible enemy movement? ”

However, we ask: how did the police know that there were illegal weapons there? They claimed they saw the pistol only after the commotion when they stopped the vice mayor’s party. How come they did not recognize the vice mayor’s official vehicle? Or was it a target? The questions are many and allegations are contradictory.

The case is joined; we leave it there.

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