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Cabañero’s neglect

November 13,2014 - 10:03 AM

Rene Elevera

The arrest of a Talisay City barangay chairman last Saturday would have been funny were it not for the criminal charges filed against him by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7.

He was made the butt of jokes for slacking off from duties and getting caught playing mah-jong.

As president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) Raul Cabañero could have taken his job more seriously when  he was invited by the NBI to act as witness for an inventory of shabu packs confiscated in a raid in his neighborhood.

Was it lack of interest, laziness or something else that made Cabañero put off the NBI’s legitimate request for his presence  when he sent word that he “was too busy”?  Rather than accept his excuse, NBI agents went looking for him. There they found him, passing the time with mah-jong and friends in a neighborhood store.

The NBI’s decision not to let the rebuff pass and to file charges sends a clear signal about the seriousness of Cabañero’s  act of omission.

Many drug raids are reported in the media.

Then, when public attention is no longer on the case, as many as 60 percent of drug cases get dismissed in court because of weak handling of the evidence, Cebu Daily News found out in a  review of drug cases in Cebu.

Basic requirements like having evidence that is seized in a raid subjected to an inventory in the presence of a local government official, a representative of the Dept. of Justice and a media worker get overlooked — perhaps, deliberately.

So it’s a major step for the NBI to make a big deal about the cavalier attitude of a barangay official who doesn’t cooperate with a drug apprehension.

The NBI made sure the point was made by filing charges of   obstruction of justice, illegal gambling and violation of the legal requirements of evidence handling in the Comprehensive Anti Drug Abuse Law.

Cabañero’s lawyer said it was just a case “of  miscommunication.”


The rules were set up to ensure transparency and non-tampering of evidence in a law enforcement raid.

Cabañero knew his duty and chose to  shrug it off.

Others who take this responsibility lightly should face the same consequences – a criminal charge and a day in court to explain their act of neglect.

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TAGS: drugs, illegal drugs, illegal gambling, National Bureau of Investigation, NBI, public official

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