MANY have called for the resignation of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas because he has proved to be as inept at his job as his boss, the President.
Rogue cops—not only the usual ones who extort money from innocent people but also high-ranking officers—have been seen to be kidnappers, enforcers and protectors of criminal gangs and drug lords, and producers of false statistics to show crime has decreased instead of surged. This did not happen overnight. The increased crime rate has been going on during the past four years of the Aquino administration. When Secretary Roxas was appointed DILG Secretary going after rogue officers of the Philippine National Police should have been his first priority. He should have at least prevented the promotion of the bad eggs to the high positions attained by those who have been caught kidnapping victims, robbing motorists these last three weeks and perpetrating murderous, planned massacres as in Atimonan, where fellow policemen were killed.
These cases that have made the headlines, we are sure, are only (to use a cliché climatically very alien to Filipinos) the tip of the iceberg. If only Mr. Roxas had worked to make the wrong kind of esprit de corps evaporate at the PNP, which is under his supervision, more criminals in PNP uniform would be apprehended. But we, the Philippine citizenry, have no such luck. Mr. Roxas, together with the President, Secretary Florencio Abad, etcetera, are so busy making sure that their Liberal Party will have all the advantages — financial through the renamed DAP and PDAF and in other tactical ways — to win in the 2016 elections.
The political supporters of the Aquino regime are echoing the President’s praises of Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima for having begun the reforms in the PNP with the arrest of “scalawags” in the force. But we think that praise is undeserved. Why are the arrests only happening now? Why be nice to them by calling them “scalawags” when they are really “rogue cops and criminals”? These people, have demonstrated their evil bent–they have been in trouble before but for some reason their PNP superiors overlooked their earlier infractions. This is why we say that Sec. Roxas allowed the problem to grow under his watch. He allowed these rogues to get promoted to higher PNP positions. (See today’s Tea Time column on P5 where Columnist Tita Valderame details more cases of victims of rogue cops whose complaints have not been attended to by the Napolcom and Sec. Mar Roxas.)
Since he is not resigning the DILG post, which is the best thing he can do, what should Roxas do at this point? He is the chairman of the very powerful National Police Commission (Napolcom), a power that goes with being head of the Interior and Local Governments department.
A wrong-headed and optimistic analysis says he must at least make sure that the police force performs its duties and responsibilities of protecting the public against criminals by doing the following:
1.) Ask Congress to pass a law that will mete out severe penalties on policemen who commit crimes or are involved in protecting crime syndicates;
2.) Give more training to policemen on legal matters and procedures, so policemen will learn more acutely to respect the rights of citizens and how to deal with criminals in the legal front;
3.) Make the training of police officers more stringent and comprehensive like what the Philippine Military Academy gives future military officers; and
4.) Make a strict audit of all police officials who head a town, city or regional police office, and make performance the basis for retention, promotion or demotion.
These are things that Mr. Roxas should have done at once when on August 31, 2012, President Aquino appointed him DILG secretary after the late Sec. Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash. He has not purged the PNP of bad eggs as he vowed to do on assuming the DILG post two years ago. In fact, under his watch illegal jueteng operations have proliferated, undoing the late Sec. Robredo’s success in suppressing it.
We, of course, never cease to pray for miracles. And our prayer pertaining Secretary Roxas is, if he does not resign, for him to be converted to a genuine doer of God’s will, working hard for the common good.