I am reprinting here the Open Letter to President Benigno Aquino III from a group in Facebook. I am not quite sure if this group is working to have this letter get the personal attention of the President. Nevertheless we should support this cause or any cause that will FINALLY end dirty politics in Abra. I encourage our users to join this group.
YOUR EXCELLENCY, BENIGNO AQUINO III MARIA LOURDES SERENO
President of the Philippines Supreme Court Chief Justice
DILG SECRETARY, MAR ROXAS
DEPT. OF JUSTICE SECRETARY, LILIA DE LIMA
ESTEEMED GOVERNMENT LEADERS:
It has come to our knowledge that the PNP Chief, Nicanor Bartolome, will soon be retiring and such development in the PNP might trigger movements of personnel within the PNP. We are also very much aware that last year, PNP finally took a serious look at what is happening in Abra under the close supervision of PNP’s Regional Director for the Cordilleras, General Benjamin Magalong and the Provincial Director, Colonel Alexander Rafael.
Gen. Magalong had been in office as Regional Director for only over a year but we have observed more measures to promote the peace and order condition in Abra than we have ever seen in the last 8 years, at the very least. In 2011 alone, before Gen. Magalong’s assignment to Abra, violent deaths have gone over 300 in number. Abra has been called the “Killing Fields of the North”, the “Haven of Private Armed Groups”, “Breeding Ground of Hired Killers” and many other unsavory names. It did not help our province at all that no significant and meaningful prosecution and dispensation of justice with strong deterrent impact on the wrong-doers took place in our province in recent years. Warrants of arrests remain outstanding for the most part and people are just plain scared to come forward as witnesses for fear of retribution and retaliation.
Recently, United for Abra, a facebook group of Abranians concerned about the continuing killings in Abra took a more proactive stance to cooperate with the PNP. Some members paid for banners, tricycle stickers and flyers that disseminated several PNP telephone numbers designated by Gen. Magalong and Col. Alexander Rafael as hotline numbers. As reported in the national newspapers recently, people now use the hotline numbers that have led to increased and faster arrests of criminal perpetrators, including those who carry unauthorized firearms. Of those apprehended and detained, we still have to see their speedy and successful prosecution before the court of law and meted out with the appropriate penalties for their crimes so that people once again believe that we have a working and effective justice system in Abra.
As the elections approach, we are sure that reports have come to your attention over the attempts of some political candidates to influence the turnout of votes by attempting to register what we usually call “flying voters” and brazenly harass the local Comelec Registrar, no less.
We appreciate the measures implemented by Gen. Magalong and Col. Rafael, like detailing more PNP personnel in the capital town of Bangued, quick response time to reports of crimes and loose firearms and firmly enforcing the law regardless of whether the application is on politician’s private armed groups. While we see now an improved peace and order condition in Abra, we note however that the situation is still quite fragile. If there has to be a reorganization of the PNP before the elections, we respectfully request that Gen. Magalong and Col. Alexander Rafael be retained in their respective positions until the peace and order condition in the province has been stabilized and that political candidates and other elements would no longer be in a position to exert their undue influence on the PNP ranks and to manipulate the election results.
We are also requesting that the Secretary of Justice review the backlog at the local fiscal’s office and if necessary augment the personnel in that office so that criminal charges against wrong-doers are filed in court more expeditiously.
Finally, we also request the SC Chief Justice to investigate whether the local courts of Abra are performing as they should and to check into the judges’ dockets if such are excessively clogged up and if so, to decongest such by whatever means the SC Chief Justice deems necessary.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Very truly yours,