Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Convicted killer Leviste walks out of prison: The uncertainty of getting caught and punished

Last week, convicted killer and former Batangas Gov. Jose Antonio Leviste was able to leave prison for a supposed medical checkup without official authorization.

Far above the noise of people screaming injustice, there were those who took a look at the incident and wondered about whether criminals in the country can count on getting caught and punished for their crime.

Apparently, the chances of getting caught and punished aren't that high.

Yesterday, a news report floated across the TV screen and it had NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula saying that the modernization of the country's law enforcement system was long overdue.  This view was seconded by the CIDG Chief Samuel Pagdilao.

Of course, the fact that Philippine law enforcement is under-equipped and undermanned isn't news.  It isn't news either that the heads of the NBI and a group under the Philippine National Police complained either.

The piece in the news item could have been the starting point for a fuller report on just how badly in need of modernization the NBI or the PNP is.  But the report didn't go there and if it did, would we find out anything new? What would the current administration say about it that we haven't heard before?

So, anyway, I guess it's fair enough to assume that because our law enforcement is ill-equipped and undermanned, a fairly large number of people commit crimes everyday without getting caught.

Moreover, we can assume that those who are caught and put in jail while waiting for the court's verdict can actually have quite a good number of liberties.  If they have lots of money, they can have better quarters, appliances, drugs, alcohol, servants, prostitutes... Oh you know, the stuff they usually enjoyed before they went to jail... It's really more like a state-enforced vacation for some people.

One other former elected government official that comes to mind right now after Leviste is Congressman Romeo Jalosjos.  He had a pretty good life behind bars and this continued despite several TV reports.

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