|Pangasinan Provincial Director Versoza (Right) in a huddle with Gov. Espino|
By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
PO1 Sta Maria should have been sacked from the police service just like what the Philippine National Police did to “bolotong”,er, “Kotong (extorting)” cop SP04 Jose dela Pena.
But Sta Maria was a lucky son of a gun despite his poking a gun recently at the daughter and the friends of Pangasinan’s Police Provincial Director Sonny Versoza, the latter has a soft heart who only settled for the suspension of the scalawag cop. Col. Versoza told me that at the wee hours sometime early this month , his daughter Ma-an, a councilor in Lingayen, was having a meeting with friends at the Warehouse Club in Dagupan City when an altercation spawned between the group of his daughter and the group of Sta. Maria. He said to freeze the group of his daughter Sta.Maria, the grandson of Dagupan City former Councilor Manok Sta. Maria whisked his handgun and started to poke at the group of the younger Versoza.
What further blew the top of the colonel after he came to the succor of his daughter ( who called him by mobile phone) was he found out that there was still a bullet in the chamber of the service pistol of the rookie cop when he inspected it at the police station in Dagupan City .
“That single bullet could have killed my daughter.” Versoza wondered why Sta Maria was enlisted in the PNP when he opposed him when he was applying for the force because of derogatory records in the city. Versoza was then the intelligence chief of the PNP in Region 1. “He was a police character!” He could not believe that Sta. Maria was able to join the PNP. “I was just thankful that the gun was not fired at my daughter. Imagine, the perpetrator was the person I once opposed as candidate for the police could be the one who could have killed my daughter,” he said.
A person apprehended by police with a mere one gram of illegal drug shabu (methamphetamine hydro chloride) infragrante delicto can either be sued as possessor or user. As a possessor he is sued with Section 11 of R.A 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) , a bailable case.
It means he can get out of jail and continue to do other activities either legal or illegal. As a user he is sued with Section 5 in a non-bailable case. It means he can no longer do what he used to do outside the jail. “How about if the culprit was caught as a user, and the police, ala SPO4 Jose dela Pena threatened to accuse him as pusher and not as user unless the culprit shell out P300 thousand?” “Is Section 5 subject for abuse by policemen?” A high ranking police official affirmed that the section is vulnerable to abuse by policemen and other peace officers. “Every time my men caught a pusher, I try to look at the case for possible abuses. The same with the prosecutor who will file the case,” the police official said. “So this is a case of “He said, I said” case?” I posed.
My thinking about this law is if the culprit is alone while a peace officer is with somebody that can corroborate his statement after he pounces on the victim in an alley, the culprit has a problem..
In this case, the justice system would give credence to the “predator” officer than what the prey has denied. ***
But there was a deterrent to this. R.A 9165 provides a mechanism for unscrupulous police men in Section 29. It says “Any person who is found guilty of ‘planting’ any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical, regardless of quantity and purity, shall suffer the penalty of death.” (Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)