WHILE I would prefer to talk about something pleasant and educational, I cannot avert my eyes or ignore the goings-on in our police force. Namely the Philippine National Police led by a certain General Ronald dela Rosa.
The kidnapping and killing of a Korean businessman apparently by a number of policemen in obvious conspiracy, managing to cremate him and dispose of his ashes, is beyond belief but revoltingly true. Police lied to the victim’s wife to extort ransom repeatedly. They even appropriated his golf set and used it as partial payment to the retired police officer who owns or had an interest in the crematorium that disposed of the unfortunate Korean’s body. The event is stomach-churning and intolerable.
Furthermore, more dismaying information has come out about police predators targeting Koreans.
The police predators among us have been here for a long time. Probably from the postwar period. Their ilk should have been addressed and expelled long ago when they were the minority in the police force. But the measures to clean their ranks have been weak and probably hampered by influence-peddling and thus ineffective. They remained, and thus impunity has been established.
With a larger population requiring more police forces, including a police academy, things have actually gotten worse. Rogue policemen now seem to be the majority which makes it difficult for a straight-arrow police person to exist in a moral universe. Newbie policemen turn into rogues maybe even before graduation. They haze their classmates to the point of injury. They have participated in rub-outs, robberies, even rape. Promoted officials start rent-seeking by various means in their areas of responsibility. How do you think the drug situation that bothers us now has come to this stage? Only with the assistance of law enforcement agents.
Meanwhile, it is inefficient. Murders, robberies, bribery, kidnapping cases are, by a large percentage, unsolved. Or, solved by producing so-called perpetrators who have been tortured to confess to crimes they did not commit. The violation of human rights is a continuous and enduring fact in the course of their work (or should I say criminality?).
I do wonder why President Duterte who is transfixed by the drug problem seems to ignore its connection with the police. He seems fixated on local government officials and legislators from the lists that he shakes at the public. If there are police in the list, we hardly hear that loud and clear. And if they are there, what is being done about them in the drug scenario that we are presented with daily? The senseless drug-related killings can be attributed to many of them. The rubout of an imprisoned and unarmed mayor in Leyte is their work, as well as the killing of the father and son in Pasay who were just supposed to be in the police precinct for investigation. These are but some of the numerous cases that police are notoriously responsible for.
Meanwhile, they celebrate the anniversaries of their units (CIDG) as though victorious over crime which they have not been, considering the unsolved cases and the accusations of criminal activities against them. They keep patting themselves in the back at public expense via celebrations, parades, anniversary commemorations, gala uniforms, etc.
General Dela Rosa maybe an amiable clown but public perception has already defined him as inefficient and seemingly callous. He enjoys the perks of his office, just had a birthday bash (who paid for it?), goes abroad for boxing bouts given as a freebie, attends concerts while criminal cases are unattended to, etc. He seems to spend a lot of time in public places as a guest, visitor, or ornament. He has endless press conferences where he claims embarrassment and shame for the crimes his forces commit (the Korean murdered right in his camp headquarters, the culprit roaming around the same camp). But they are mere protestations, histrionics, maybe crocodile tears yet. No solution, no punishment, no guilty party made to pay the price beyond suspension, so-called investigation where no results ever emerge, much less a resolution. Is he at work or only on public display? But the solution is not to get rid of him to satisfy adverse public opinion. That is too easy, too much of a cover-up. He should be put to work for a change. If he cannot hack it, then resign or get fired.
In this dismal situation, I can only hope that Senator Panfilo Lacson’s Senate committee on public order can thoroughly investigate what is happening to the police and work out a sensible plan of action that public opinion will demand be put in place. It will only be a first step but that is how every journey, long or short, begins.