Deona’s brand of leadership

There had been several choices that were available to Bicol Regional Police Director Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona when he was confronted with the recent Rapu-Rapu mining mishap.
For one, he could have simply ignored the fact of the tardiness of the report, and protected the ego of the police officers that were involved. He could have denied that the report was late, or ordered for the issue to be covered up entirely, especially since many did not even know about the late report until its news broke out.
Deona, however, opted to follow a different path. Such choice would likely make him unpopular with the police officers that he reprimanded. His choice could even make other police officers scoff at his insistence on punctuality—a value that many in society would regard as optional, but by no means obligatory.
But what popularity he lost to those who do not take their job seriously, is replaced by the surge of respect that he incurred from those who do. For those whose hearts are in the right place, Deona displayed unmistakeable courage and commitment to his job as the police chief of the region.
Deona epitomizes what one proverb admonishes: “The choices that we make, make us.” The choice that Deona made not only manifested what his conscience dictated, but also fortified his sense of justice that would be crucial for all other future decisions.
He could have easily taken the easy way out. He could have made the police officers happy and immensely grateful by keeping the failure a secret. Yet, he recognized that decisions such as these are the mark of a flimsy spirit—easily swayed and unable to stand one’s ground, and ultimately unsuitable for a true leader.
It is worth mentioning that while it may seem that the police chief was only annoyed by the lateness of the report, his anger, in fact, had deeper basis. Justice relies heavily on time, as one legal maxim suggests. Each moment that justice is not served is said to be just as bad as the victim not receiving any justice at all. In the case of the victims of the mine blast, the delay of the report meant that the investigation was also deferred, as with the filing of any charges, if the need arises. It was not a mere case of late submission; the lateness was equivalent to denying immediate redress for the victims.
Other leaders would do well to follow Deona’s example. What he showed was strongcommitment to his duty as police chief as well as firm faith in justice, despite the threat of unpopularity that may emerge from those who, lamentably, do not share his views.


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