Alarmed by the growing number of “hoodlums in uniform,” a lawmaker from Valenzuela City has urged the Philippine National Police or PNP to launch an honest-to-goodness campaign to rid its ranks of bad eggs that have tarnished the image of the police force.
Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian called on top police officials to learn from the former senator and incumbent Yolanda rehabilitation czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson when he was still serving as chief of PNP of the Estrada administration.
Lacson was known for his no-nonsense style of instilling discipline on the police organization’s rank-and-file has won the admiration of the civilian populace.
“General Lacson’s leadership by example during his stint as PNP chief has brought back the pride and dignity of police officers because they know for a fact that their commander is quick to reward those who risk their lives fighting criminals and was also quick to punish those who are involved in criminal activities,” Gatchalian said.
Lacson is being credited for bringing back order and discipline in the PNP by waging a relentless campaign against policemen who are inept, corrupt and undisciplined or ICU. Lacson was PNP chief from November 1999 to January 2001.
Gatchalian, a former Valenzuela City mayor, said the involvement on nine policemen, including seven assigned to the La Loma police station of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), to the daring abduction and robbery on Edsa on Sept. 1 is very alarming.
News reports said two of the officers involved in the kidnapping incident are members of Class 2001 of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).
Among the four police officers, Chief Insp. Joseph de Vera holds the highest position as La Loma station deputy commander. He was subjected to inquest proceedings for brigandage or highway robbery and kidnapping with serious illegal detention in the Mandaluyong City Prosecutors’ Office on Monday.
Meanwhile, the 39-year-old police was tagged after it was learned that his silver gray Toyota Hi-Ace Commuter van with conduction sticker YF 9767 was one of four vehicles that blocked a white Toyota Fortuner bearing the two victims.
Aside from De Vera, also tagged were:
Senior Insp. Oliver Villanueva (La Loma police station)
SPO1 Ramil Hachero (La Loma police station)
PO2 Weavin Masa (La Loma police station)
PO2 Mark de Paz (La Loma police station)
PO2 Jerome Datinguinoo (La Loma police station)
PO2 Ebonn Decatoria (La Loma police station
PO2 Jonathan Rodriguez (QCPD)
former Insp. Marco Polo Estrera (dismissed in 2006)
“The crime may not have been brought to public attention if not for a netizen who posted the photo of the actual robbery and kidnapping but the fact remains that the policemen involved acted with such brazenness, which is an indication that they do not fear the current PNP leadership,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian said there is a need to review and reform the discipline mechanism in the PNP after receiving reports that most policemen dismissed by either the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) in Camp Crame or the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) are reinstated to the PNP after winning their appeal lodged with the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
“It will be very difficult for the country to attract foreign investors and tourists when the people who are tasked to maintain peace and order are the ones involved in high profile crimes. A culture of impunity prevails among the police force. This is a scary thought for all of us in this country because we can no longer trust anyone,” Gatchalian explained.
“This culture of impunity can only be extinguished by absolute discipline among the rank and file of the PNP and lawmen who violate the law should be punished swiftly and with much severe penalties,” he added.
Gatchalian cited a report by the disciplinary law and order section of the regional directorate for human resources development of the Police Regional Office (PRO 3), which noted an increase in the number of policemen facing administrative and criminal cases in Central Luzon, with 204 cases filed since 2013.
Based on the PRO-3 report, at least 18 commissioned officers and 116 non-commissioned officers have been slapped with administrative cases since January this year. Criminal cases filed against policemen in the region from January to September this year have reached 38, more than the 32 cases recorded last year.
Gatchalian received National Police Commission’s (Napolcom) Best Mayor in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela (Camanava) for his outstanding and invaluable support to peace and order efforts of PNP when he was still a city mayor. (R. Burgos)