President Benigno Aquino 3rd minced no words in telling new policemen that anyone of them who gets involved in any wrongdoing during his administration will suffer the
full force of the law.
On Monday, the President in his speech urged the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class of 2014 to keep their integrity and resist corruption even as he acknowledged that the reputation and honor of the Philippine National Police (PNP) had come under fire during the last decade.
The President has always upheld his campaign promise to fight corruption in government and has adopted daang matuwid (the right path) as the underlying theme of his administration.
Aquino, the guest speaker in this year’s commencement exercises of the country’s premier police academy at Silang, Cavite, however, said he still believes that the new police, jail, and fire officers will shun corruption and will serve their “bosses” with utmost dedication.
By “bosses,” the President was apparently referring to the people, whom he called by the same name early into his presidency in 2010.
He told the new police officers not to be policemen who drive without licenses and accept “tong-pats” or bribes.
He said he expects them to perform their duties and responsibilities based on what is right.
“Ang tinitiyak ko naman, kung handa kayong tumalikod sa tukso, kung handa kayong tugisin ang tumatakas sa batas at walang takot kayong susuong sa peligro para protektahan ang inyong kapwa, magiging katambal ng inyong serbisyo ang tiwala ng bawat isang Pilipino [I assure you, if you are ready to turn your back on temptation, if you are ready to run after those fleeing the law and fearlessly take the risk to protect others, your service will earn the trust of every Filipino],” Aquino pointed out.
“Tandaan din ninyo, anumang pinalusot ninyong katiwalian sa inyong hanay ay pihadong magdadala ng perhuwisyo sa ating kababayan. Kapag pinili ninyong magbulag-bulagan sa pang-aapi sa karapatan ng mamamayan, asahan ninyong bukas-makalawa, karapatan naman ninyo ang mismong yuyurakan [Also remember, any wrongdoing you let pass through your ranks will only bring trouble to our countrymen. If you choose to turn a blind eye to abuse of the people’s rights, expect your very rights to be violated next],” he said.
The President, on one hand, lauded the graduates for finishing four difficult years inside the academy and told them to brace for challenges to come.
He encouraged them to always stick to their principles and to not be tempted by material things.
“Saan man kayong lugar madestino, anumang luho o tukso ang sumubok sa tibay ng inyong prinsipyo, lagi kayong pumanig sa tama, at sa kung ano ang mas makabubuti sa inyong kapwa. Nawa’y isabuhay at panindigan ninyo ang panata ng bawat kadeteng Mandilaab, ang saysay ng buhay ninyong mga mandirigma ay nasa pag-aalay nito sa kapwa [Wherever you may be assigned, whatever extravagance or temptation would test your principle, be on the side of what is right, and of what would better benefit others. I hope that you will learn to live up to and stand by the oath of every Mandilaab cadet,” that the warrior’s life only finds its true meaning when it is lived for others],” the President said.
The PNPA Class of 2014 is also known as Mandilaab.
In his speech, Aquino highlighted ongoing reforms in the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
According to him, policemen can now serve the public with ease after the government purchased 74,879 Glock 17 pistols for them.
Most of the firearms have been distributed to PNP personnel and additional pistols will also be handed out once ballistic tests are completed, he said.
With the release of the new pistols to policemen, the PNP will soon achieve the 1:1 police-to-pistol ratio. PNPA Class Mandilaab will also be issued new Glock pistols, the President added.
The government has allotted more than P2 billion for the PNP’s mobility, firearms, investigation, communication and rehabilitation components under its Operational Transformation Plan.
The procurement of 882 patrol jeeps, 17,680 assault rifles and more than 200,000 magazines for basic assault rifles and around 5,000 mobile radios is also ongoing, the President said.
He added that the government will soon approve the domestic manufacturing of small arms ammunition to address the needs of not only the PNP and other law enforcement agencies but also the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Jail personnel will also be issued 4,888 9mm pistols to address the 41 percent deficit on firearms among jail guards while the BFP will also get new equipment, Aquino said.
The government also allocated P3.6 billion to buy 300 fire trucks and build 300 fire stations nationwide, he added.
The President stressed that these reforms became possible through clean and efficient management of the current government.
“Abot-tanaw na po ang permanenteng transpormasyon sa ating lipunan. Binubuksan na natin ang bagong kabanata sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa kung saan ang kumakayod nang husto ay ginagantimpalaan ng pag-asenso [We can almost see the permanent transformation of our society. We are opening the new chapter in the nation’s history where those who work hard are rewarded with progress],” he said.
“Nawa’y maging alagad kayo ng positibong pagbabago upang magpatuloy ang kaunlarang tinatamasa. Sa gabay at tulong ng Panginoon, at sa pakikibalikat ng sambayanan, lalo pa nating palakasin ang hanay nating tumatahak sa tuwid na daan, diretso sa kinabukasang tunay na mapayapa, patas, at maunlad [May you be bearers of positive change so that the progress we are enjoying would continue. With God’s help and guidance, and with the people’s participation, let us make stronger our ranks that tread the straight path toward a truly peaceful, fair and progressive future],” the President added.
The top three graduates of the Mandilaab class are children of police officers.
Another policeman son’s bagged the sixth highest honor, bringing to four the number of police graduates with police lineage in the top 10.
Police Cadet Glenn Tabo Santelices, 25, emerged as topnotcher of his 202-member class.
Santelices is the son of Police Officer 3 Heide Santelices, an active policeman from San Andres, Catanduanes.
Before joining the PNPA in 2010, he was a seminarian at Claret Seminary in Quezon City where he graduated cum laude with a degree in Philosophy.
As class topnotcher, Santelices was awarded the Presidential and Chief of the Philippine National Police Kampilan Award.
In second and third places were Police Cadet Bryan John Dyag Baccay, 21, and Police Cadet Allan Benedict Ramos Rosete, 22. Both are sons of retired police officers.
Baccay, a native of Baggay, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, received the Vice Presidential Kampital Award, while Rosete, who hails from Penablanca, Cagayan, got the Secretary of Interior and Local Government Award.
In sixth place was Police Cadet Andy Ray Asturias Geronilla of Panacan, Davao City. He is the son of retired policeman Edilberto Geronilla.
Rounding the top 10 are Police Cadet Ermelo Garcia Dichoso Jr. (4th); Police Cadet Jade Rivera Gamboa (5th); Police Cadet Michael John Luciano (7th); Police Cadet Jayson Rey Seduest Florin (8th); Police Cadet Robin Llanes Martin (9th); and Police Cadet Ian Marc Serrano Polestico (10th).
The Mandilaab (Mandirigmang may Dangal at Isipan Laan para sa Bayan) class is composed of 10 women and 192 men.
Of the number, 183 will join the PNP, 10 the BJMP and nine the BFP.