The PNP’s General Goltiao joined the en banc session today where he was asked to amplify on his return – the ‘return’ basically being his report on what happened to the warrant of arrest he was supposed to serve on former COMELEC official Lintang Bedol.
According to his return, Goltiao’s subordinates went to Bedol’s home, didn’t find him there, and … well, gave up. The bareness of that return was what prompted the Commission to ask Goltiao to appear before it today.
In amplification of his return, Goltiao claimed that it had taken them several days to move in on Bedol’s home because he had first placed the house under surveillance. According to Goltiao, he received the warrant October 24. He served it on the 31st. What gave me pause was his claim that, according to Bedol’s wife, the intrepid Lintang had left the house as early as October 20.
Asked what he had done after discovering Bedol missing, Goltiao claimed that they had asked around, but denied doing anything more.
Asked what he intended to do after today, Goltiao said he planned to intensify intelligence operations, but that “intelligence is slow work.”
The Commission – and Chairman Borra said as much to the media afterwards – was disappointed with Goltiao’s answers. There was even talk of Goltiao being relieved. To his credit, Goltiao reiterated that as far as being relieved was concerned, he would follow orders.
All told, Goltiao’s appearance before the Commission en banc today can be seen as a disappointment, or it can be seen as a lesson. Remember that talk of issuing a warrant made it to the papers way before the 20th. That could have alerted Bedol to the imminence of his arrest and triggered his flight. Of course it can be said that if the warrant had been issued right away, Bedol might not have had enough time to get very far, but that sort of reasoning is, to my mind, rather the wrong way around.
There should not have been any sort of leak before the actual issuance of the warrant. Unfortunately, that boat leaked like a sieve. If I remember correctly, the whole story was played out in the news: from the time it was being deliberated on by the en banc, to the time the warrant was being prepared, up to the very moment it was issued.
Worse, there was a delay of a day or more while the warrant flew to Goltiao who was then attending a command conference with the COMELEC in zamboanga. What sort of hubris led to the belief that Bedol would sit patiently by, waiting for the warrant to come knocking on his door step? The worst kind, I would say.