• The police are the problem


    Ma. Isabel Ongpin

    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.


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    1. For me, I don’t believe that there are more good policemen than bad. I believe in the reverse. Rogue cops are everywhere, even at the smallest unit of the society like the barangay. I even learned that barkers had to pay tributes to the cop assigned to their area so that they can do their trade of barking for jeepneys. A street kid told me that a cop owns a bridge where he worked as a barker. I said, a cop cannot own a bridge so that cop is abusing his power and authority. We are doomed since most syndicates are headed by cops who are still on duty and retired cops. Same goes with the military. Well, they have the guns and connections. That is why I question Duterte’s policy of doubling their salaries. That is not the solution to morally corrupt cops who are actually earning more now behind the scenes.

    2. Bato should go! He has lost the trust and confidence of is subordinates. He thinks he’s a president when he speaks! He’s not D30 either and will never be. He bypassed many generals to become a PNP chief and he started to become a rock star! No, Bato… take it easy. Not too fast. You’re not a rock star yet but maybe a clown! If I were you, I’ll resign now because you are inefficient . Lacson is right when he lectured you on what’s it like to be a PNP chief. Sorry, Bato, you’re out!

    3. Its better that this has been brought to light now, rather than to just wake up one day and find that the police already controls the people instead of serving us. Despite seeing its flaws and the many, many people who prey on the people, I still think that the vast majority of policemen did not join the police force to victimize the people, but to protect them.

      The police will change, and the people will change, and the only way for that to happen is under the promise of the policemans oath. That the covenant between the honest policeman and the people still stands and will continue to do so until our last policeman has resigned, died or removed from service.