Monday, June 13, 2011

Criminals 8: Extortion Culture in the PNP

Yesterday, Sunday midnight (June 12) around 1:20 am, I was standing in front of Five Star Bus' Cubao Edsa terminal, waiting for a bus going to Alaminos-Bolinao. There was an old Santrans Bus parked outside the Five Star terminal (I think Santrans does not have its own terminal). Then a Quezon City (QC) police car came and stopped in front of the Santrans bus. The barker (someone calling for passengers) or a conductor of the bus approached the police car, talked to the policemen briefly, within a minute, the police car went away.

A few minutes later, another QC police car came, and the same scene. Santrans barker or conductor would talk to the policemen, and they would go away. And then another QC police car after a few minutes.

I finally got a bus around 1:45 am. Within 25 minutes that I was standing there, I saw 3 different QC police cars trying to "apprehend" the bus driver for illegal parking or whatever traffic rule/s violated near the Five Star bus terminal.

I did not hear or see money changing hands, but in those 3 cases, I suspected that the barker or conductor simply gave money to the policemen in exchange for non-apprehension because the policemen would just go away within a minute (or less) of talking to the barker.

I came back that night, last night, took Five Star bus. My bus reached Cubao area around 11 pm. I asked the driver and conductor if I can get off at Estrella, Edsa Makati, they said yes. It is not a designated bus stop for provincial buses, but at Sunday midnight (or perhaps anyday midnight), there are no more MMDA personnel watching provincial buses. And there is no more traffic congestion at that time of the day too.

The bus stopped at Estrella but before I could get off with my baggage of farm products (banana, avocado, santol, guyabano, in one sack) to take a taxi from there, a Makati police car incidentally was trailing my bus. As usual, they stopped, called in the driver. The driver talked to them, and in less than a minute, the driver got back to the bus, but looking a bit angrily at me. I said sorry to him.

But here's the kicker: Just about 10-15 meters from where my bus stopped, there was an accident. Two SUVs had a minor collision -- one car bumped another car in front of it. Two more SUVs, perhaps friends of one of the parties involved, were parked with headlights and hazard lights on, on the 2nd inner lane. So there were four SUVs parked in one lane of Edsa last night, a light traffic build up resulted as all the other motorists slowed down to see what happened to those parked SUVs in the middle of Edsa. The Makati policemen did not go to the site of the collision, they simply went away after the bus driver talked to them. I suspected another extortion in exchange for non-apprehension.

My fault and my regret that I did not take down the body number or plate number of the police cars that I suspected were used for small-scale extortion.

One rule or prerequisite for bureaucrats and extortionists, is to have as many NOs, restrictions and prohibitions as possible. From no killing to no U-turn, no left turn, no parking, etc. More prohibitions means more chances of people violating those rules. When caught, violators like drivers of public vehicles would normally plead with the apprehending policemen. The latter may settle for small or big amount in exchange for non-apprehension.

I know that some readers will retort, "You consistently argue for the rule of law, now that the rule of law is being implemented, you complain or suspect of 'extortion.""

Sure, I consistently argue for the strict promulgation of the rule of law. No killing, no stealing or carnapping, no kidnapping or rape, no shooting or stabbing, no arson or bombing, no land grabbing, etc. will be allowed. There are grave punishment for violators of those laws and prohibitions. The law applies to all and exempts no one.

But one important factor for the rule of law to be successfully promulgated, is that the laws should be as few as possible. People will then easily remember those few prohibitions and restrictions, and they will be aware of the consequences of violating those prohibitions. People cannot remember hundreds, if not thousands, of rules and restrictions made by both national and local government units.

Policemen are mandated by law to quickly investigate cases of road accidents or related incidents, big or small. Why did the Makati policemen not investigate the collision between those 2 SUVs? And why did they apprehend the bus driver for such a minor "crime" of unloading a passenger in a non-designated bus stop at midnight?

The quick answer, I guess, is that there is additional work for policemen who will investigate a road collision. while there is zero additional work for apprehending a bus driver for such minor violation while there is possible extortion money involved.

Last June 15, 2010, I wrote this:

Statistics and the State

There is one adage, "what you cannot measure, you cannot control." Hence, many people who want to control something gather as many information as possible on those things, or other people. Since the business of BIG governments is to regulate and regulate, there is big penchant to gather as many statistics about people and their activities.

A friend commented that for government, crime stats are important for the law enforcers to determine strategies how to control crime.

There is one important function of the state -- that is why I do not believe in "zero govt", only "lean or minimal government" -- to over-regulate, over-spy, ove-chase, even over-kill criminals: killers and murderers, thieves and robbers, kidnappers and carnappers, rapists, terrorists and extortionists, landgrabbers and professional squatters, etc.

So if government is to collect all sorts of information about criminals, even about ordinary people like you and me so the government can sort out past and future criminals, I support the State and its statistical gathering of info for all citizens.

What I cannot support is when the government, both national and local, implicitly look at entrepreneurs and job creators as potential criminals, that's why they consider that it's a crime to start a business unless the entrepreneurs will secure first dozens of signatures and permits from the government.

See also:
Criminals 3: Kidnappers in Government, August 24, 2010

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