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Resolving the polices identity crisis[1]

By: Atty. Berni M. Luceres The identity crisis in the Philippine National Police (PNP) is loud and clear. Recently in the news, several policemen in the rank of police officer one (PO1) to police superintendent are involved in all kinds of heinous crimes. From drug pushing, kidnapping, carnapping, hijacking, robbery, extortion and others. The common public is shocked and wondered why, where, when and how these policemen got their guts to break their oath in the PNP. They do not have any fear to be dismissed from the service and incarcerated for the rest of their lives. Criminals in blue gray uniform are giving others the courage to do the same. They would philosophically argue, if a policeman (who has a job) did crimes to earn more money, why not the common tao who has no job? Take the case of late Alvin Abeng Francisco. He was single, 28 years old, computer encoder, and a friend of this writer. On October 2, at around 3:00 a.m., he was shot in the back by a certain Police Officer (PO1) on Perla st., Tondo, Manila without any provocation. He is assigned at MPD Station 4 PCP Espana Blumentritt. After he shot and hit Abeng, he and a jobless companion took the victims scooter, cellphone and money. The said police officer was officially on sick leave when he treacherously shot Abeng. The police officer was arrested. But the writer personally saw that police officer walking in the City Hall of Manila without handcuffs after the preliminary investigation. Yet he was charged for murder, robbery and carnapping. This policeman maybe one of the abusive minority in the PNP, but because his colleagues (kabaro) are giving him special treatment, some have remarked that the PNP as an institution should be destroyed. If a suspect for vagrancy and violation of an ordinance is handcuffed, why not a suspect for heinous crime? The said police officer has been alleged to be involved in hulidap activities. Now would the PNP accept the quotation of Brendan Behan, to wit: I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldnt make it worse. American

writer Michael Harrington must have been talking of the PNP when he said: For the middle class, the police protects property, gives directions and helps old ladies. For the urban poor, the police are those who arrest you. The 1986 Constitution provides that: The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian in character to be administered and controlled by a national police commission. The authority of local executives over the police units in their jurisdiction shall be provided by law. Through this constitutional provision, Republic Act No. 6975 was enacted and the PNP was born. After seven years, the former law was amended by Republic Act No. 8551 which announced that: It is hereby declared the policy of the State to establish a highly efficient and competent police force which is national in scope and civilian in character administered and controlled by national police commission. Further, The Philippine National Police (PNP) shall be a community and service oriented agency responsible for the maintenance of peace and order and public safety and The PNP shall be so organized to ensure accountability and uprightness in police exercise of discretion as well as to achieve efficiency and effectiveness of its members and units in the performance of their functions. On October 28, the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) conducted an entrance or qualifying examination for those who want to join the academy. It was a record breaking examination because hundreds of thousands took the exam, wanting to join the PNP. Once you join the PNP, one foot is already in the graveyard. Yet why do young people prefer to join it? Is it because of the guaranteed free education and allowance? Since many young people want to be policemen, the PNP Chief should be strict in the selection of police officers and stricter in cleaning and disciplining the organization. Fear must also be inculcated into the nerve of the policemen and not only to make them run after criminals. According to Voltaire, Fear succeeds crime it is punishment. According to Henry Miller, The study of crime begins with the knowledge of ones self. Policemen should know

themselves and be role models in obeying the law. Allowing and mixing goons in the police is an obsolete and ineffective way to check criminality. We wish the best for the PNP and those who passed its recent qualifying exam for admission to the PNPA. May you recover the lost respect or the lost glory of the police force. Without a reliable police force, the progress and development of the country will always be elusive. May God bless the PNP whose primary aim is to help our citizens achieve peace, order and public safety.

1 Points of Law Atty. Bernardo Berni M. Luceres Manila Times Barangay News Vol. 2 No. 10 Date __________