Ping longs for glory days of barrio police

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FORMER senator and outgoing rehabilitation czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Monday challenged Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), to provide a strong leadership and strong inspiration to the police.

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Lacson, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1971 and PNP chief for two years under the Estrada administration from 1999 to 2001, urged Espina to bring back the glory days of the police.

“Leadership must provide intervention, discipline and motivate, inspire who they lead, PNP is not exemption,” Lacson said during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony in Camp Crame, the police organization’s main headquarters in Quezon City, where he was guest of honor.

Espina was named OIC of the PNP after Director General Alan Purisima was ordered suspended for six-months without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman last month over allegations of corruption.

Purisima and Espina are members of PMA Class of 1981.

“If leadership fails, and I mean at any level, the unit under that leader fails miserably… in all our leader training, one principle stands out.. it’s called leadership by example, it is second to none,” Lacson said.

The former senator and PNP chief recalled his childhood days in Cavite province, south of Manila, where there was a highly regarded barrio policeman until the policeman retired from the service.

“He was a typical patrolman in starchy uniform, baton, 38 cal. revolver What struck me the most was how he was highly respected by the barrio folk even after his retirement,” Lacson said.

The former senator then said that in 1999 when he was appointed as PNP chief by then-President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, he became conscious that respect for policemen had been eroded.

According to him, the barrio policeman was trim, his waist line not more than 32 inches and he wore his complete uniform every single day he was on duty.

At the time, he said, policeman attended to his duty responsibly, never misappropriated confiscated evidence and never used a stolen vehicle, returning it to the rightful owner.

“And most important, he never extorted money from commuters and vendors. Instead, he assisted them in any way he could. He never receive payola from (gambling operators),” Lacson added.

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