Kotong: Buwaya Sa Dilim
TGIF? TGIF (Thank God Its Friday) to kotong cops but bad day to small businessmen in NCR (National Capital Region). What am I saying?
Robbers In Uniform?
They are not actually wearing their uniforms, they claimed they are under Intelligence division of PNP NCR, as expected they are wearing civilian clothes and will disguised as typical KTV customers. They will choose a not so big KTV Bar with VIP rooms and GROs working in the establishment.
A man or two men will enter the establishment, posed as customer, order for food and drinks. Then the man will ask for a GRO so he can have a drinking companion. After a while, they will transfer to VIP room. VIP room is a small room, dim-light with a table and two chairs… to some, cubicle with see through curtain is also considered as VIP room. On the other hand, other cops are scattered outside, waiting for the “go signal”.
The Go Signal
Its a simple SMS to cops outside, sometimes, other cops are already drinking inside the bar. They will announced they are the raiding team and its a raid. They will get every employees, GRO, receptionists, waiters, janitor, cashier etc to ride in a vehicle already waiting outside because of the go signal. They will search the premises for possible employees trying to hide from the “raiding team”. They will also ask to bring the employees’ working permit (some call this as health certificates).
To The Batcave
The owner after learning the incident will follow them to Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan. Cops will now tell the violation, prostitution. Take note that the usual day of their “operation” is Friday nights where there is no fiscal the following day because its a weekend (no office days). If the employees didn’t released on the same night (Friday), they will stay until Monday morning. Employees stays in an empty room, the small jail serves not a jail but a stockroom of unwanted furnitures. The longer the employees stayed there, they will still continue looking for more violations by interrogating the employees.
What to do to release the employees? Employees with proper working permits will be released after questioning. But GROs doesn’t worked long enough to a certain KTV bar to obtain expensive requirements for their working permit. Plus, it takes 2-5 days for processing. So chances are, there are some employees without permit or not yet finished processing their permit. Negotiations will come between cops and owner. Whatever strategy the owner do, it will end up that he have to pay a certain amount for their release. Believe me, its not small money for small businessmen.
They are branded as rouge cops or kotong cops for doing hulidap. Hulidap is a slang word, a combination of huli (means caught) and holdup. Why they are “on operation” again? They are asking for “intelihensya” (milk money) on a regular basis to small KTV Bars in exchange for “security” after the raid. If these entrepreneurs are law abiding citizen, pay their taxes, no violations, no bold show, no prostitution… why they will give milk money? Did these cops forgot that their salaries came from businessmen’s taxes as well as their job description?
Human Rights Violation
No wonder why PNP is the top violator of human rights according to Commission of Human Rights. According to City Administrator, PNP have no right to conduct such raids on KTV bars without the company of local government as well as inspecting the working permits of employees. Employees are all detained without knowing their violations. Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds like “illegal arrest”.
I forgot to mention that the KTV bar’s employees were brought to JCTIFC (Joint Counter Terrorism Intelligence Fusion Center). hmmn… I didn’t know that raiding KTV Bars is included in their job. Am I right that they supposed to go after the terrorists?
This PNP practice is long been circulating in these businesses because big establishments give milk money to kotong cops to avoid headache on their illegal business such as bold shows. Some establishments didn’t bother to complain for many reasons. Where to complain if the violators are the authorities? Afraid that these cops will get back on them. Sad to say, some establishments allowed the extortion to happen even if they have no illegal operation and the business is not good.
Thoughts To Ponder
Does reshuffle of their area of responsibility is the answer? I’ve read in the article PNP Integrated Transformation Program that the transformation will take place in 2015. We are all affected by the economic crisis we currently have in our country, big or small business, rouge cops are additional burden. Some businesses are already closed. The sad things is… because of these kind of cops, cleans cops’ image are also affected. Sad but true.