MANILA, Philippines – An anti-kidnapping advocate on Tuesday said the abolition of the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response Force (PACER) has hurt the campaign to curb kidnappings in the country.
Teresita Ang-See, chairman of the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), said the abolition of PACER wrecked confidence-building measures between the police and anti-crime advocates. Last February, the Philippine National Police replaced PACER with a permanent unit called the PNP – Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG).
“Magmula 2003 we have worked very closely with PACER. Talagang naging maganda ang partnership. Kaso binuwag nila at nagtayo ng bago. Siyempre umpisa na naman ng confidence building. Lahat ng mga trusted namin, mga naka-trabaho namin, halos one to two na lang ang natira sa buong team,” Ang-See told radio dzMM.
Ang-See said kidnap-for-ransom syndicates are updated when it comes to movements inside the police force.
“Kapag nag-uumpisa ang confidence building doon sila kikilos,” she added.
Ang-See lamented the poor partnership between the MRPO and the new anti-kidnapping group, saying that requests for data are sometimes denied.
She said some MRPO members have yet to be given security aid since the AKG was formed, and a new leader took over as head of the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG).
“Out of 150 members namin mabibilang sa isang kamay ang may police security at sila talaga ang may delikado na kaso... Ito dapat plantsahin kasi bago na naman ang Police Security and Protection Group. May problema na naman,” she said.
11 kidnap cases
The MRPO said it has so far recorded 11 cases of abduction in 2012. This excludes the abduction of a boy in Laguna last week.
Ang-See said kidnap cases in Mindanao are not included because the police consider the abductions as terrorist-related.
The PNP, meanwhile, said it has recorded 7 kidnappings including 3 in Luzon and 4 in Mindanao.
Ang-See, meanwhile, blamed politics for the relief of some PACER officers.
“Ganyan talaga ang pulis, hindi ko makita nasaan na yung police transformation, reforms. Bakit hindi merit ang tinitignan nila kundi ang connection?” she said.
“Yung mga nandyan na nagtiis dyan are dedicated, kasi sa PACER talaga kahit magaling ka hindi ka mapo-promote kasi task force lang siya,” she added.
Ang-See appealed to PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome not to be lax when it comes to battling kidnapping.
“Iyung vigilance nila huwag maging overconfident na things are alright. When things are alright and kidnapping incidents are low, dito dapat sila kumilos,” she said.