Hear a lot of talk about "fixer's" in the Philippines. Those who take bribes to "faciliate" matters. Some of those guilty of such offenses are cops. That's no surprise. Our television programs and movies back in the States are full of shows about cops "on the take." Why should it be any different in the Philippines? So when I saw a recent headline about some peace officers in Iloilo City, our new home in the Philippines, I was determined to repeat this story on my website. Although Johnny Cash sang "bad news travels like wildfire, good news travels slow" from his song "Bad News" which means good news usually translates into lower ratings or less people interested in a story, I wanted to show another side of law enforcement, the good cops.
In a recent story, The Panay News reported a group of police officers from Iloilo City who were involved in an operation to stop the siphoning of crude oil that been going on in the region. The newspaper reports that "big-time oil players such as Shell, Petron and Caltex have long wondered why their sales in Guimaras Island have dwindled. It is believed that the crude oil stolen from Apo Cement vessels is being retailed in the island province."
CEMEX, APO Cement's owner, President Pedro Palomino commended the officers fro resisting a bribery attempt by the suspects who reportedly offered P100,000 (2,308 US Dollars) in exchange for their freedom. The captain of the crew was one of the suspects arrested.
The Panay News states that CEMEX Philippines Logistics Director Michael Martin Teotico said the theft has been going on for quite some time as indicated by the frequency of their vessels getting stalled in the high seas allegedly due to fuel shortage.
CEMEX is the Philippines’ second largest cement producer.
The ship's captain and another associate were caught in the act of siphoning crude oil from the cement carrier vessel and transferring it to the boat of Esteve Reyes. After their arrest, the article reports that Esteve allegedly tried to bribe SPO1 Stephene Siblag (SPO1, Private First Class or Police Officer I, is the lowest rank of the Philippine National Police) with P100,000 (2,289 US Dollars) for his and his men’s freedom. Officer Siblag rejected the bribe. Some 32 drums of stolen crude oil worth P300,000 were seized by the police and Coast Guard from the suspects last week.
Kudos to Officer Siblag and those other police officers involved in this operation. It's heartening to read about some good honest professionals doing the job they have been trained and sworn to do. Are you curious as to how much a police officer's salary with the Philippine National Police, PNP, is? For the SPO1 rank which Officer Siblag holds, the monthly salary (according to Wikipedia) is P17,265.00, or just under 400 US Dollars a month.