Will summary dismissal of erring cops instill iron discipline and proper behavior within the Philippine National Police and significantly improve its public image?
That’s apparently the rationale behind the recent proposal of House Speaket Martin G. Romualdez for the PNP to strictly enforce a one-strike policy against so-called “ninja cops” and other erring policemen, including their immediate superiors.
Romualdez issued the appeal following reports that 13 personnel of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG)-National Capital Region were accused of extortion by a group of Chinese businessmen.
What triggered the Speaker’s outburst was the news report that the Chinese said they were just playing mahjong in a house when the operatives raided it based on a complaint of a neighbor who was allegedly bothered by their noise.
The Chinese nationals alleged the policemen took from them two expensive watches worth millions of pesos, valuable jewelry, an expensive bag and P3 million in a vault.
The Chinese were taken to the CIDG-NCR headquarters where they were supposedly asked to come up with P10 million in exchange for their freedom.
“What is happening to our policemen? They are supposed to protect our citizens, but they are accused of extortion and illegal activities. I am appealing to our PNP chief to apply the one-strike policy not only to those involved in these activities but also to their superiors,” the lawmaker fumed in exasperation
While the CIDG director has sacked the 13 involved in the alleged “hulidap,” including the CIDG-NCR chief who submitted his courtesy resignation, what is important is for the top PNP leadership to intensify its campaign against wayward policemen to regain the trust of citizens.
Romualdez gave this piece of advice to the top PNP officials: “They have to weed out the bad eggs who are tainting the image of the police organization, which is not fair to those who are faithfully doing their job. They should make sure that only those who take their duties seriously and who are not involved in illegal activities remain in the service.”
Will the prospect of summary dismissal from the service deliver a strong message to the entire institution that they should uphold the core mission of the PNP to serve and protect?
Or maybe not, as the same ‘one-strike’ policy for serious violations of rules and participation in outright criminal activities had already been suggested by previous PNP officials—and apparently completely ignored by those who should not be in the institution in the first place.