SENATOR Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th said on Friday that “delinquent cops” should be fired and not just reassigned and sent to Mindanao supposedly to discipline them.
He urged Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa to rethink his policy of sending erring policemen to the Southern Philippines.
Aquino made the appeal after de la Rosa shipped to Marawi two Mandaluyong policemen caught on video using a “yantok” or nightstick on two men they arrested for drinking on the sidewalk.
“Filipinos deserve an upstanding police force. It is important that the people have trust in our policemen, especially those assigned in Mindanao where there is martial law and there is threat of terrorism. We should send our best and brightest, not those who abuse their power,” Aquino said.
However, Senators Gregorio Honasan 2nd and Francis Escudero supported de la Rosa’s move.
“What the CPNP (chief PNP) does to scalawags is a purely administrative and procedural matter that is governed by law, PNP rules and regulations,” Honasan said.
Escudero said: “For as long as admin and criminal cases are filed against the erring cops, I don’t see anything wrong with assigning such cops to ‘difficult posts’ while awaiting their suspension or dismissal from the service.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana aired a similar sentiment on Thursday.
In a press conference in Marawi City where Lorenzana, de la Rosa and Acting Interior Secretary Catalino Cuy were present, the defense chief said the PNP chief should have thought of another form of punishment for the erring policemen.
“Just my personal [experience], there was a time when I was the commander there in Davao and I heard that they are going to send the ‘scalawags’ in Mindanao, I said no, I said we should send the best people here because we need the best people here and fight this war,” Lorenzana said.
“We don’t need erring officers because what would they even do there? And those [policemen]don’t even want to be in the war zone. They were only forced [to go in the war zone]and we need some good people, volunteers to come here to help in the problem now if you will throw people who are problematic, we’ll just add another problem to the commanders here,” he added.
De la Rosa said he respected the opinion of Lorenzana and even guaranteed the defense chief that the two erring police officers would be the opposite of what they were known for now.
“Secretary Lorenzana is saying that this place (Marawi) deserves the best cops that we can provide. Well, I guarantee you after they are assignment here, they will become the best cops that they can ever become,” the PNP chief said.
“Who would even place their bets that these cops would use their yantok, we’ll see, if they will smash again, I would lose. I am sure that they will be reformed if they are here in Marawi. I am 100 percent sure that they will be the best cops,” he added. DEMPSEY REYES