President Aquino snubs Ele’s wake
President Noynoy missed his chance to show that under his watch, all officers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) are treated as equals, whatever their source of commission.
The President failed to attend the wake of retired police Director Marcelo “Jun” Ele, one of the best star-rank officers the PNP has ever had.
Director is a two-star officer in the PNP.
Ele was cremated Friday morning after a four-day wake at St. Peter’s Memorial Homes in Quezon City.
It was impossible for the President not to have known the passing of a great officer and gentleman.
* * *
Ele was a recipient of the Dangal ng Bayan, the highest award given to a civil service official or employee, roughly the equivalent of the military’s Medal of Valor.
The President’s presence would have been highly appreciated by Ele’s fellow retirees and officers still in the service who are not graduates of the PMA.
You see, non-PMAers compose the majority of the officers corps of the AFP and PNP; the PMAers are a minority.
And yet, PMAers are almost always chosen to head the AFP and PNP over fellow officers who entered the service via the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), through integration into the regular force or the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).
* * *
Ele was not a PMA graduate, but he matched, even surpassed, the competence of PMAers in his time.
A lawyer (he is a graduate of the Ateneo College of Law), helicopter pilot, scuba diver and a paratrooper, Ele was the topnotcher in the 1974 batch of AFP second lieutenants who entered the service other than through the PMA.
Among Ele’s classmates was the bemedalled Marine Col. Cesar de la Peña, one of the leaders of rebel soldiers who attacked Camp Aguinaldo during the 1989 coup.
Ele was assigned to the Philippine Constabulary (PC), forerunner of the PNP and one of the major branches of the AFP at the time.
Ele was an honest cop and a civilian’s friend.
Wherever Ele was assigned, people loved him because he was approachable and humble. But he was a nemesis of criminals.
Ele’s star shone brightest when he led the raid of a huge drug den, known as the “shabu tiangge,” behind the Pasig City Hall in 2006.
Hundreds of people, including housewives who had their children in tow, were arrested in that raid.
* * *
If accomplishments, qualifications and a clean record were the criteria for choosing the PNP chief in his time, Ele would have made the grade.
Had Ele been appointed PNP chief, there would have been no ghost deliveries or repairs of rubber boats and V-150 armored carriers (not B-50 as I mentioned in my last column) and the purchase of helicopters at a huge overprice.