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Why blame Diokno for Leviste ‘caper’?

/ 11:18 PM May 23, 2011

FOR being close to President Noy, Director Ernesto “Totoy” Diokno of the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) is being crucified for negligence that should have been blamed on a subordinate official.

Sure, he is the prisons czar, but he delegates his authority the same way the Armed Forces chief of staff, for example, spreads his power among his area commanders.

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Following the logic that Diokno should be suspended or dismissed for inmate Antonio Leviste’s “caper,” why wasn’t the AFP chief not relieved of his post following the Dos Palmas raid in Palawan years ago?

Of course, the commander of the AFP Western Command at the time, a rear admiral named Ravago, was sacked for playing golf while the raid was going on a few kilometers away from his camp.

Now, why should Diokno be sacked for the negligence of New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Supt. Armando Miranda?

By all means, Miranda’s head should be placed on the chopping board.

But suspending or kicking out Diokno for what was Miranda’s fault is invoking the principle of command responsibility a bit too far.

If this principle is invoked in this case, then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima should also be sacked because the Bucor is under her.

* * *

We must remember that Diokno is not the head of the NBP but Miranda.
Diokno oversees all the country’s national prisons: NBP, Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan, Davao Penal Colony, San Ramon Penal Colony in Zamboanga, Sablayan Penal Colony in Mindoro, Leyte Regional Prison and the Correctional Institution for Women.

As Bucor director, Diokno’s main function is to act as an adviser to the justice secretary on matters relating to the formulation and execution of penal policies, plans, programs and projects.

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In other words, it is the prisons superintendent—not the bureau director—who has direct and hands-on control over inmates and personnel of his prison or penal colony.

* * *

Truth to tell, Diokno was in the process of going after “living-out” inmates at the NBP when Leviste was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Makati City.

The former chief of the then Western Police District (WPD) first tackled the bigger problem of drug trafficking within the NBP.

Barely seven months as Bucor director, Diokno transferred NBP inmates serving time for drug trafficking to the different prisons in the provinces.

He inherited the problems of drug trafficking and giving living-out privileges to rich inmates from other Bucor directors, particularly the one he replaced.

His campaign to separate the drug convicts from the other NBP inmates was said to have led to the killing of his assistant director, Rodrigo Mercado.

* * *

A big conference that will benefit the country’s law enforcement agencies is taking place at Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City.

More than 200 delegates from 25 countries are attending the 14th FBI National Academy Associates.

Members of the FBI, or the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, and all the participants are former students of the FBI Academy.

No less than FBI Assistant Director, Joseph Demarest, is attending the conference.

The country’s delegates are headed by NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula and NBI Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda.

Gatdula and Esmeralda are president and vice president, respectively, of the FBI National Academy Association, Philippine Chapter.

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TAGS: Bilibid prison, Bucor, Ernesto Diokno, FBI conference, Philippines
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