The German Science of Police tells us that a policeman has both an economic and social duty. Apart from ensuring the enforcement of the law, the policemen in the old Western culture answered to health concerns, urban planning and vigilance in the market; policemen then were tasked to empower the population. Civilians back then were not just in good hands but in safe hands.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) was put up in the same light. The Philippine Constabulary—or PNP before it was integrated—was established to maintain peace, law and order in the Philippines. However, with the recent turn of events, the Filipinos may be feeling the irony of the danger of entrusting their safety to the PNP.
Eleven Quezon City police officers face criminal charges for alleged kidnapping, attempted murder and carjacking. The police officers were said to have kidnapped, on December 20, Andy Ngie and Ferdinand Ret, colleagues of Indian national Majinder James Kumar whom the police allegedly attempted to abduct. Days later, bodies of Ngie and Ret were found in the provinces of Pangasinan and Bataan, respectively.
Criminal and administrative charges were filed against a Manila police officer after allegedly raping a woman inside the Manila Police District, December 31. Before dawn on January 4, another policeman in Marilao, Bulacan showered bullets that left one person dead and another injured.
Filipinos are just now cringing of fear for the next strike of the law enforcers—the very same set of people tasked “to serve and protect” citizens. In the face of growing threats of terrorism and insurgencies and increasing global conflicts, the Filipinos need to feel secure inside their country now more than ever.
Witnessing in the news the horrible circumstance the PNP is currently in, we see in front of our very eyes that peace has been disrespected, laws were violated and order in the interior government was just allowed to fall into chaos. As of date, there are 1,171 administrative and 461 non-administrative cases against the PNP.
Policemen should not forget that they owe the public their service. For one, it is stated in the Philippine Constitution that it is their task to organize, maintain, supervise and utilize peace and order, in accordance with applicable laws. The salary they receive comes from the taxes people pay; it is only just that they return the favor with service.
Furthermore, the abuse of authority by police officers is another error in the system. Police officers—even policemen in general—must have proper preparation and be in the appropriate state of mind before receiving the uniform that comes with the power and responsibility.
According to PNP Chief Director Genreal Raul Bacalzo, it is mostly officers ranking from PO1 to PO3 whom were pressed illegal charges. It was good that Bacalzo realized that extensive background investigation should be done with new recruits. It is also agreeable that results of the neuro-psychiatric tests should have a big weigh in the acceptance of recruits.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo also proposed one of the most logical consequences for these policemen. He said that police officers who are accused crimes related to illegal drugs, rape, homicide, illegal discharge of firearms and abuse of power should be placed on preventive suspension until the case is resolved.
The three-strike policy is also one of the better punitive suggestions presented by Bacalzo. In the this policy, if supervisors reach three cases of policemen pressed with illegal charges, the supervisor will be relieved from the post.
Moreover, the PNP must give regular human rights education to their policemen with modules provided by the Commission of Human Rights. This way, the cops will have full understanding and full appreciation of the things that they are not allowed to do.
Furthermore, there should also be regular mental and background check ups of the policemen. The PNP should provide counseling to those who will be deemed unfit by the check up and be subjected for close observation.
The Filipinos should have never paid the price of having an incompetent police force. All this time, the authorities should have secured that the policemen respond to the function of how they were called a long time ago: to empower the people, not play power over them. People dying and getting raped are the opposite of “service” and “protection”.