The order by National Capital Region Police chief Oscar Albayalde to relieve the entire Caloocan City police force of duty and undergo retraining on the rule of law echoes the desperate call of the times to rid the nation’s police of the corrupt and the wicked.
Albayalde’s order on Friday rang out at the height of people’s outrage over the spate of killings of teenaged boys in the city in recent weeks, all of which are blamed on the city’s police unit. The last body was found in a creek in Nueva Ecija, around 170 kilometers north of Caloocan earlier this month.
Another incident involved a group of police officers from a Caloocan precinct raiding on September 7 an elderly woman’s home that a tipster claimed was a drug den. No drugs were found, but some members of the raiding team were caught on camera stealing a wallet, a couple of watches and a mobile phone from the raided house.
What made the raid more questionable was the absence of a search warrant, a clear, unmistakable breach of law enforcement protocols.
Albayalde was quite explicit in giving the erring police officers a dressing-down. “You wasted the chance given to you by the government to serve as police officers. That chance was not given to you so you could rob people!”
His order relieving an entire police force of 1,200 members by batches could not have been more desperate and appropriate because such detestable act by officers of the law must be met with the most stringent disciplinary action.
The impunity of such offenses by men of the law becomes stark in the face of the vision-and-mission statement of the National Capital Region Police Office:
“The National Capital Region Police envisions itself by 2030 as an eminently dependable, efficient, responsible, and highly respected police force, attaining an interactive community, safe from crimes and disorder, so that the families, citizens, and visitors are living, working, and doing business in a secured Metropolitan environment.”
“The NCRPO, in its assigned jurisdiction (Metro Manila), shall enforce the law, prevent and control crimes, maintain peace and order, and ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community.”
For the first time in the history of the Philippine National Police, all personnel in the city’s headquarters and seven districts, starting with precincts 2 and 7, will be replaced temporarily by the combat-trained regional public safety battalion.
The message of the order is quite clear and relevant, to do what is unmistakably right, with no room for impunity.
Albayalde and all the leaders of the local police forces all over the country are in a position to make a difference in cleaning up their local units now. They must act, not necessarily in a desperate manner but to do what is right even in totally desperate situations, to purge their ranks of the corrupt and wicked elements that do not belong there. Now is the best time to do the purging. What we have in our hands is a golden opportunity to change.