Command responsibility PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 January 2015 12:48



We have just stepped into a new year and I hope and pray the world will be a better and kinder place for everyone in 2015.

I would like to start off the year by sharing some thoughts on topics  which affect all of us in one way or another. These  thoughts are not original nor are they solely mine; rather these are thoughts on the given topic which I have arrived at after coming across the thoughts of others on the topic and have had  these confirmed over the years by my own experiences or observations.

Let us look into the matter of command responsibility.  The governance of our country has been plagued over the many years by the weakness of implementation of the  services  expected of particular offices. We need not list these offices one by one.  I am sure you have your own list of offices in mind.

When an office or agency fails at effective delivery of its particular service or services, the person immediately responsible for the service is either reprimanded or  charged before the proper forum. If this happens at all, that is. After the fact, we normally hear very little.  But what happens to the person at the top of this office or agency? Nothing or very little indeed; the show simply goes on  as though no problem has come up at all in this agency.

Two recent events make good examples. The first one is that of the New Bilibid Prison where high profile inmates were found to have enjoyed extraordinary amenities while incarcerated: air conditioned  cells with Jacuzzis and music studio;  cell phones; and –horrors! – guns and the capability to continue their drug business for which they have been imprisoned.  Nothing like this could be possible without the prison authorities knowing about this.  Okay, the DoJ could go after the prison guards but ultimately the top man of the prison should be held accountable. And under the principle of command responsibility Director  Franklin Bucayo should answer for what has happened within  his own agency during his watch. Dismissal from government service would be the kindest punishment for him. Worse is what I would recommend.

Or take the case of the boat loaded with smuggled rice which disappeared from the ZC port where it  was being held while  the case against the owner/s was being prepared. It was later made known that the security of the vessel was assigned to Task Force Zamboanga.  Much later a news item said that the five soldiers assigned to secure the boat were hoodwinked into releasing the vessel by a call from someone higher up in another agency. Poor soldiers; they will now be held accountable for the  decision to let the vessel go because they received instruction over the phone to do so. A lot of questions will come up in your mind and I won’t blame you.   For me though the question is : Should not the top man of Task Force Zamboanga answer for this infinitely poor decision of the guards? My answer is, YES.