So much money for intelligence…

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    ‘Makes you wonder how Secretary Delfin Lorenzana – who was once quoted as saying no one should be red-tagged sans proof – can allow this to happen under his very nose.’

    AND yet so little intelligence!

    In 2019 the Department of National Defense had a budget allocation of P1.7 billion for intelligence, and you imagine how thorough our defense establishment can and should be in assessing threats and areas of concerns and, of course, identifying real “enemies of the state.”

    And yet the military establishment can come up, as it did on Facebook recently, with a seriously erroneous list of UP students and alumni who it says were NPA members who died or were captured. On the list were director Behn Cervantes (who died of illness), and my high school and college classmate Atty. Rafael Aquino – who is neither dead nor had been captured.

    No question that Raffy was an activist during our time and like many UP activists analyzed Marxist and Maoist theory very well. But an NPA who was captured if not killed?

    Makes you wonder how Secretary Delfin Lorenzana – who was once quoted as saying no one should be red-tagged sans proof – can allow this to happen under his very nose.

    It gets worse when the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff says he will first wait for the validation of the information before making a comment or apologizing to those wrongly labeled. Shouldn’t they have validated the information before the AFP put it up on Facebook?
    So much in intel funds, so little in intelligence.

    I am not sure if the gentlemen of the Defense establishment are aware that mistakes like these coming from their ranks is doubly serious in a constitutional democracy, and triply serious in an environment where red tagging can lead to extrajudicial killings. We have seen enough of that over the last five years, yes?, and not enough accountability. And yet here is the DND-AFP establishment that seems to treat allegations like these so casually.

    Is it because they are the ones who have the guns and so have far less to fear than ordinary citizens?

    This problem though goes beyond the mindset of the men in uniform, they who are trained to hunt down the enemies of the State but who, in their zealousness to “defend the Constitution” sometimes fail to distinguish between State and Government and Administration, or are unable (or refuse) to see acts like the manhandling of the Paranaque vendor as perfect fodder for dissent and “inspiration” for NPA recruitment.

    The problem, of which this whole DND-AFP-UP imbroglio is but a symptom, is that the Filipino (whatever his profession or his station in life) has such a shallow understanding of what it means to be 1) a citizen, 2) with rights and obligations in 3) a constitutional democracy in which 4) representative government upholds 5) the rule of law.

    In which case, even if so much intelligence funds are able to generate intelligence, democracy will not be better off because civic consciousness remains shallow and wanting.