Friday, March 19, 2010

Bangit-Verzosa Meeting and why the animosity between PMA Classes

For the first time in Philippine history, the Chief of this country's Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) made a "courtesy visit" with his counterpart in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The visit happened today at Camp Crame, shortly after General Delfin Bangit's induction as the fortieth AFP Chief of Staff.

Sources told this writer that the meeting was "cordial" and "serious." Bangit came with all his service commanders, all his mistahs, which many at the PNP directorate viewed as a "show of force."

The meeting between Bangit and PNP Chief Jesus Verzosa lasted for about thirty minutes, with both men sparse in their words.

Verzosa (PMA Class 1976) was appointed by Mrs. Arroyo to succeed General Sonny Razon. He is set to retire by December of this year. However, sources within the PNP says he will soon be replaced by Roberto Rosales, the PNP NCR director, who happens to be the mistah of AFP Chief of Staff Bangit. Bangit and Rosales are members of PMA Class 1978, the favorite class of Mrs. Arroyo who adopted her while she was still a senator.

A week ago, Versoza vowed to protect the Filipino People from forces anti-thetical with democracy. Verzosa said the entire police force will not allow itself to be used for political purposes.

The source said that Bangit criticized Verzosa for uttering such words to which the PNP Chief acted strongly. Verzosa, the source said, advised Bangit to "just do your job."

An AFP source however say that the meeting was not adversarial, although it was really unclear why Bangit went on a visit with his entire entourage in tow. It was the wishes of the higher-ups, says the source, that both men talk things out.

A call, allegedly made by Executive secretary Leandro Mendoza, was received by Verzosa who happens to be very close to the former PNP chief. It was Mendoza who thought of arranging the meeting between Bangit and Verzosa, upon the instigation of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, the source said (although this is unconfirmed).

The meeting, sources say, did not go well as intended. Both men were tip-lipped though, especially Bangit who did not entertain media inquiries about the courtesy visit. 

Sources say the hatred between men, both belonging to different PMA classes, is historic. According to deep sources, it was allegedly some members of PMA Class 1978 who instigated that Russia fund scam which hit the headlines shortly after Verzosa's appointment as PNP chief.

The role played by some members of PMA Class 1978 in that scandal has been blown. Verzosa, sources say, knew that the plan was for him to become another Bobby Lastimoso, who was immediately replaced after figuring into a scandal.

Rosales, a member of PMA Class 1978, was supposed to replace Verzosa. The PNP chief's closeness with the First Gentleman however saved his neck from being completely severed by the Arroyo administration.

The plot failed. It fizzled out after members of Verzosa's directorate submitted themselves to a Senate inquiry.

After the plot failed, Verzosa, sources say, became his own man. Verzosa reportedly minded his own business and distanced himself from the First Gentleman. He, however, preserved his friendship with former PNP Chief Leandro Mendoza who continues to serve Mrs. Arroyo.

That is why this meeting was cold or in fact, lukewarm. Verzosa, sources say, did not forget what Bangit's mistahs did last year.