The prevalence of the Padrino system in our country posts the most basic question, “WHY?” Why do people tend to choose favors over merits? Why do they choose the wrong over the right? The most obvious answer is because of competition. The Philippines is still considered a third world country and everyone within it is just trying to get a hand of the resources that keep getting more expensive due to calamities and universal shortages.

The competition for resources from basic needs up until power can be the driving force for someone to behave or act in a certain way. The ideal action is to work hard for it and receive credit where it is due but some people tend to swerve from the ideal and take comfort in what one can call a “shortcut”. But in this shortcut, rules are broken and number of people are affected. This is done in micro and macro levels.

One example of a micro level practice of the Padrino System is the infamous compromise the jueteng kubradors (bet collectors) and their jueteng lords have with most of the policemen they encounter. Back in the year 2012, PNP spokeperson, Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. told reporters that then-Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that some officials of the PNP are receiving money from jueteng is not completely void of truth. Lacson said that jueteng would not prosper without any deals made with the police. Cerbo said that in the first half of the year 2012, more than 100 of the personnel of PNP that were found guilty of being part of jueteng operations and other illegal activities were laid off. He did not disclose just how much of the 100+ were involved in jueteng but he claims that,

I cannot give you the exact numbers at this time, but the (figures) are very significant. They’re substantial,”

An excerpt from an inquirer news article about this admission of the existence of jueteng backers in the PNP also admitted that there is a constant struggle against corruption among their personnel when it comes to jueteng and that they are trying their best to monitor such activities.

Excerpt from an article titled, “PNP admits there’s truth to Lacson claim of ‘jueteng’ cops” on the September 28, 2012 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In June, then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo relieved from their posts Chief Insp. Joseph Calonge Laureta of Alaminos, Laguna;  Senior Insp. Allan Joy Medina Suratos of Alcala, Pangasinan, and Senior Insp. Roger Manuel Digmayo of Santo Tomas, Pangasinan, for their failure to contain jueteng.

“In fact, hundreds of police personnel are being investigated every year based on the reports we’re receiving,” Cerbo said.

“This only proves that we are continuously monitoring police personnel who are involved in illegal activities, including those involved in illegal gambling,” Cerbo said.

It can be said that this is more of a corruption issue among the PNP rather than a Padrino system issue but if you analyze it from different perspectives you’ll see that they are both present in the situation. Having Padrinos in the PNP are what lets the jueteng lords continue on with their business and the promise of protection from the PNP are paid with dirty money. Money that are never meant to be in a PNP official’s hands or any hand for that matter. Hence, we can say that corruption is just an effect of the Padrino system because without the backing of the PNP, jueteng may have been eradicated long ago and the involvement of the PNP and other people of power would have been avoided.

The Philippine National Police as an institution follows their own rules and core values and as taken from their official website, their mission is:

“The PNP shall enforce the law, prevent and control crimes, maintain peace and order, and ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community.”

So it is expected of the PNP officials to be the ones against the crimes. The enforcers of laws and peace and order. Which could probably be the reason why they choose to lie in the face of the law and the people, because their interest is conflicting with their expected behavior.

~ Mary Payumo


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