Archive for the ‘Eliseo de la Paz’ Category

For 45,000 Euros, a Fabulous Watch for a Fabulous Filipino in the "Euro Generals Scandal"

November 15, 2008

I laughed away my incredulity when Tyrone Ng Arejola, 35, a rich friend of retired Philippine National Police (PNP) comptroller Gen. Eliseo de la Paz testified in the senate hearing on the “Euro General Scandal.” Arejola explained that of the 105,000 euros (6.9 million pesos) confiscated by Russian authorities from Gen. de la Paz last month, 45,000 euros was his. The high-flying wealthy Filipino businessman with unusual liking for gem time pieces said the money was his payment for a watch worth P2.9 million to be bought in Europe— something Filipinos (myself included) find incredible.

I’m bewildered by Arejola’s exquisite interest for jewelry watches. As a long-time resident in America, it’s the first time I hear of such fabulous chronometers like “Roger Dubuis Bi Retro” or an “IWC Portuguese Chronowatch,” the time pieces Arejola loves.

I live close to the jewelry district of New York and I have often walked passed jewelry watches on glass displays. In the last 20 years, I never owned a wristwatch or dream of owning one. But I understand its necessiy—not the costly time pieces which one needs to cover with an insurance or guard against theft with dear life. For checking time, I only rely on my simple cell phone which works just as well.

My ignorance about luxury time pieces is magnified knowing I learn about them from kababayans in Manila who’re at the center of a hideous money-laundering scandal. Life can really be paradoxical sometimes, says my doctor-friend-colleague who learned about Arejola who lives in affluence within a society beset with grinding poverty.

Arejola, an avowed “born-again Christian” like de la Paz, can possibly afford such expensive European watches whose names twist my tongue. Yet, I wonder why he asked the PNP officer to illegally carry his money in a foreign travel to pay for them. It’s the 21st century. Why can’t he use modernity’s regular perks like a money transfer, a credit card, or a bank remittance?

(Noveau?) rich Filipinos like Arejola make me forget the country is poor. At that price of 45,000 euros, the watch is surely tops at the end of the price scale. Who can fault humility and hubris coming together? It’s the same thought that may have crossed Sen. Manuel Roxas’ mind when he directed his quizzical comment to Arejola in the senate meeting:

So 45,000 euros…Parang ang bigat suotin po nyan eh. Parang bahay na po yan. Yung akin Timex ah, $30. Personal na pera niyo yan kaya wala akong masabi (That would be quite heavy to wear. That’s like a house. My watch is a Timex, worth $30. In any case, that’s your personal money so I cannot say much),” Inquirer, (11/15/08, Kwok, A)

A question to ask Gen. de la Paz: “How can you, a law officer put your integrity in line and that of the country by agreeing to be a courier of Arejola’s money?”

In accordance to the law, every traveler has to declare money beyond $10,000 dollars, why didn’t de la Paz do it as he passed the customs? Even Filipino maids traveling for the first time in the airport know this rule by heart.

If Arejola is telling the truth, he should be decidedly affluent, but nonetheless awkwardly dirt cheap and stupid to put Gen. de la Paz and the country in hot water. He admitted that Enviroair, one of his companies, get juicy contracts from the PNP.

From here, I can only ask the reader to think and make your own theories and conclusions. I think investigators have uncovered some raunchy details of this scandal rocking the military, but they aren’t focusing on the right questions hard enough—the what, how, where and when of the 105,000 euros in the PNP officer’s possession.

It’s not so important that the Russian customs authorities have “absolved” him through some dubious diplomatic channels. The PNP officer has yet to explain, among others, why he has that huge money brought in the Interpol conference in St. Petersburg with his wife. He has to explain the illegal huge amount of money he carried abroad against conventions of international travel.

The “zarzuelas” and inanities of corrupt citizens go on in the Philippines. The people can only sigh in angst and anger thinking how many more rapacious scandals they have to endure in their lifetime. In Manila, one hears the poor street protesters yelling,“Tama na! Sobra Na!” while the PNP officers with their guns look on. =0=

PNP Gen. Eliseo de la Paz

Photo Credit: ABSNews; AP; Bullit Marquez

RELATED BLOG: “Euro Generals” from Moscow and the “zarzuela” that awaits them in Manila Posted by mesiamd at 10/21/2008

“Euro Generals” from Moscow and the “zarzuela” that awaits them in Manila

October 20, 2008

After being caught and held for illegal possession of travel money in Moscow, Russia, during the 77th Interpol Meeting in St. Petersburg, retired Gen. Eliseo de la Paz, his wife Maria Fe, and Philippine National Police (PNP) officers and their respective wives, are eagerly awaited to return home. They need to shed light to the humiliating detention they suffered stemming from the undeclared amount of P6.9 million (105,000 euros.) Airing the befuddled mind of the public, the Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago angrily declared:

I-subpoena decus tecum ko silang lahat. Ibigay nila ang mga papeles nila. Sino ang nag-authorize niyan? Ngayon kung hindi iyan duly authorized, saan nila kinuha ang pera? Saan nila kinuha ang pera para gumastos lahat ng asawa nila? Magkano ba mga sweldo nila?” Santiago told radio dzBB’s Nimfa Ravelo in an interview. GMANewsTV (10/19/08, See, AB)

The flamboyant Sen. Santiago, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, sounds funny again, but the truth of this incident rests on the questions she raises. It is a shame the PNP officers wear “service, honor & justice” on their badges not unlike the military pins of the disgraced Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia who stole incredible amounts of money from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP.)

Some of de la Paz’ defenders are saying there is nothing irregular with bringing 105,000 euros as though it is OK to carry them without customs approval. They speak of “contingency funds” that make them look more suspicious. Where did they get that much money?

If justice works well in the Philippines and corruption isn’t as rampant, this case of illegally transporting huge money abroad has all the tell-tale signs of a crime(s). Ironically, they went to that interpol conference to learn more ways of upholding laws, not of violating them. (see my related blogs entitled “Truth, not only travel briefing, is the answer versus money laundering”(10/17/2008) and “Malabong paliwanag sa bayong-bayong na pera sa airport” (10/16/2008.)

But as usual, one wonders if investigations that probe the PNP officers will just be another side diversion—a dizzying “zarzuela,” displaying the corruptive influence of money on those tasked to serve the people. There surely will be layers of alibis, legalese, and lame defenses to dodge accountability. The kid-glove treatment of erring government men in power often mocks the sensibility of the public and painfully deepens the despair of the nation. That’s why many frustrated Filipinos are cynical with regards to the outcome of cases of this nature. (Photo Credits: Ignacio Guerra; =0=“

Truth, not only travel briefing, is the answer versus money laundering

October 16, 2008

With the deterioration of the economy, we have learned to be frugal—- traveling abroad simply. The clothes we wear and the money we bring are scaled in terms of affordability and status. Yet there are Filipinos who insist to be flashy like the “ritzy” PNP officer who carried a “bayong” of cash to an Interpol conference in Russia.

Eliseo de la Paz, a former director and comptroller of the Philippine National Police (PNP,) traveled in style with a group of Filipino law enforcement officers in the 77th General Interpol Assemby in St. Petersburg, Russia. We didn’t know if he dressed appropriately, but he was caught bringing P6.9 million of “contingency” funds, a shameful violation of smuggling and the international money laundering law.

It was disgusting that the senior PNP law enforcer and his defenders take the incident lightly. PNP Chief Supt Nicanor Bartolome, perhaps in an attempt to dampen the corruption implications of de la Paz’ action, announced all police officers traveling abroad must undergo mandatory briefing. Did Bartolome mean de la Paz and his group didn’t have one? Wouldn’t it be routine to have pre-departure orientations for Filipinos representing the Philippines abroad?

If Bartolome’s travel orientation’s goal is to educate us about the money laundering law which allows less than $10,000 of undeclared cash during travel, his plan is practically useless. It is a duplication of what is routinely done in international airports, airplanes, and customs offices.

Everybody knows, before reaching the port of entry, flight attendants bring in forms to make sure passengers don’t commit the error of breaking the law. In the customs, passports and money declaration documents are rechecked. There is absolutely no chance that de la Paz wouldn’t know this simple travel procedure, especially if it regards to concealing huge sums of money.

De la Paz brought P6.9 million in cash way beyond what was legally allowed. A retiree from PNP service, he and his wife must not even be part of the Interpol meeting in the first place. But they were there for a reason the public must know, held by Russian authorities that their counterparts in Manila wanted to pass like a fart.

If Bartolome wants to conceal this ignominious incident under the rug as most military men do for their comrades, why doesn’t he dig into the truth about de la Paz’ P4.5 million. The PNP officer claims he brings “personal” money in a conference. What will he do with that mind-boggling sum and how did he acquire it?

Bartolome asks why the Russian authorities didn’t catch de la Paz early on. But aren’t foreign delegates of meetings accorded respect and nothing like this is imagined to happen in St. Petersburg?

There goes the rub. Another Filipino official has disgraced himself and put the name of the nation in the sewers. Alibis, cheating, and corruption have been so entrenched among our officials. Who then will believe us if we are like this? (Photo Credits: Christian Science Monitor/Bennett; Banyuhay)=0=


Parallels in the US and Philippine Presidential Elections

“If some think we have reached the pits in our standard for electing national leaders, they better observe what is happening in the US elections. We may be “shallow” and immature as an electorate but the current US electoral pool won’t have the right to sneer at us come 2010 (if ever elections are held at all).”—MyTy (10/17/08) (Photo Credit: MarkBerry)

Malabong paliwanag sa bayong-bayong na pera sa airport

October 16, 2008

Ako’y nagtataka sa ating mga opisyales na pumupunta sa abroad. Pag sila ay nahuhuli na dala-dala ang “bayong-bayong” na pera sa kanilang paglakbay, an daming mga paliwanag na sa huli ay parang mga palusot. Nawalan na yata tayong hiya, maski magmukhang stupido.

Meron na naman nahuli, isang retiridong Philippine National Police (PNP) comptroller na may dalang P6.9 million (EU 105,000.) Alam ng karamihan na $10,000 (P470,000) lamang ang legal na dala ng pasahero pagpunta sa ibang bansa. Iyan ay paulit-ulit na pina-aalala sa lahat na viajeros (written declaration of money) sa mga eroplano at customs. Pero itong si Eliseo de la Paz ng PNP ay may dalang sobra na hindi dineklara ayon sa anti-money laundering law.

Heto ang paliwanag ng isang taga-pagtanggol na si DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno sa ginawa ni de la Paz:

“Sa Europe, the hotels are easily triple the hotels that we pay for here, so talagang mahal yon. It’s really an expensive proposition and that is an Interpol meeting. Remember that was a meeting of all the police agencies throughout the world. Hindi naman pwepwedeng pupunta ang delegation natin don na parang mga pulubi, so they had to go there in the standards of the average police force,” (10/16/08, Abelgas, G.)

Pero ang totoo, pwede naman malaman kung magkano ang gastos sa mga hotel kung magtanong o magreserba ng advance, na karaniwang gawi. May telepono, may internet, may banko, na pwedeng gamitin para hindi magdala ng “bayong-bayong” na pera. Ano ba talaga ang preparasyon na ginawa ni de la Paz at mga kasama para mag-ibang bansa? Ang paliwanag ni Puno ay parang ang mga Pilipino ignorante sa paglakbay. Maski pa mayaman, sino ba naman ang dadala ng milyon-milyon sa isa lamang na meeting?

Ayon kay de la Paz ang P4.5 million sa P6.9 million na nasa kanyang “bayong” ng papunta doon sa Russia ay sarili niya. Ganyan ba kayaman ang mga tauhan ng militar ngayon? Ano ang kanyang gagawin sa P4.5 million, perang sobra sa doble ng 8-kataong budget ng delegasyon? Kung wala siyang balak na iba, bakit hindi niya ipadala sa banko o ideklara sa customs o gumamit ng credit card? Sa interpol meeting pa naman sila pumunta, bakit niya ilalagay ang Pilipinas na suspetchahan ng panibagong korupsiyon?

Hindi daw siya dapat ikumpara doon kay Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, na isa rin nahuli ng 2003. Pero kitang-kita, pareho sila lumabag ng batas. Mag tatanga-tangahan na lang ba ating mga opisyales at ang taong bayan ang magdadala ng kahihiyaan? Maliban sa budget ng delegasyon, kanino ba talaga ang P4.5 million ($95,744.00) na dala ng isang PNP officer? Paano ni de la Paz mapapaniwala ang tao na sa kanya talaga ang pera. Ito ba ay kasama sa pondo ng militar na hindi sakop ng audit ng Commission of Audit COA (i.e. intelligence funds?)

Paano ang mga mamayan maniniwala sa ating mga lideres pag ganire ang nangyayari? Ang sabi, itong si de la Paz, retired na. Hindi na siya dapat kasali sa delegasyon ng mga dumalong Pilipino sa 77th Interpol General Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo Credit:; jhayrocas; gmaresign) =0=

Note: Untruths, persistent lies, and twisting of facts by our leaders frustrate the inroads of credibility our hardworking citizens, OFW’s, and other expatriate Filipinos have carved for the Philippines. If we don’t have the discipline to curb our proclivities for deception and lies, we’ll always be among the bottom heap of countries with the greatest corruption problems. Truly, Eliseo de la Paz needs to be investigated, but his situation seems to speak for itself. He broke the law during his travel.