By Ellson Quismorio
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel believes in “girl power” in the Philippine National Police (PNP), especially in cases where minors are concerned.
“We are also pushing for immediate administrative reforms in the PNP so that only female officers should have direct and immediate custody of children brought to police stations for any reason, regardless whether they are considered in conflict with the law or not,” Pimentel said.
Specifically, the Mindanao solon is calling for the doubling of female police officers from the legal minimum of 10 percent to 20 percent.
Pimentel wants the increase to be reflected in the PNP’s annual recruitment, training and education quota.
According to him, only female officers should have direct and immediate custody of children brought to police stations for any reason. Kids visiting family members in police detention must also be aided by station’s women and children protection desk.
“In other jurisdictions with strong child protection systems, whenever a young girl is taken in for any reason, male officers cannot just put her in a police car. They have to call for a female officer to accompany the child,” Pimentel noted.
“There’s no reason why the PNP cannot do this now. We already have ‘Women and Children Protection Desks’ headed by female officers in all police stations,” he stressed.
Pimentel’s call came after a Manila policeman was accused of forcing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him in exchange for the freedom of her parents who had been arrested for alleged drug offenses late last month.
Though there was no case against them, the daughter and her aunt were also brought to the Sampaloc police station when the parents were nabbed.
It was at the station that PO1 Eduardo Valencia threatened the girl and told her to have sex with him so that the case against her parents would be dropped.
In a viral video clip, Valencia claimed that what happened between him and the girl was nothing new, and that officers like him were accustomed to having their way with suspected drug offenders and their family members.
Valencia is facing a statutory rape charge and dismissal from service.
To prevent abuse, Pimentel also wants children and even women visiting family members in police detention to be accompanied by a female officer at all times.