Duterte, Año, PNP   

Published January 8, 2020, 12:00 AM

by Erik Espina



Erik Espina
Erik Espina

It was in the same yardstick as saving Boracay and the clean-up of Manila Bay — the “environmental overhaul” in the Philippine National Police. The move by President Rodrigo Duterte to postpone the naming of the next PNP chief was an intervention waiting to happen. The political — and more so, moral — will to initiate “change” and carry out needed reform in the institution, required timely intrusion at the highest level.

The tip of the proverbial iceberg was the oral scuffle in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on alleged “ninja cops”. Without getting embroiled in the nitty-gritty of finger-pointing, the alarm bells in the President’s thinking, if I may be so bold, was his pet-peeve – drugs. Who and how many of the current roster of “would-be” PNP chiefs have shadows tailing decades of police service? And the Palace does not intend to encourage or exacerbate what may be a “problematic culture” among some law enforcement officers, by promoting them.

In other countries, such as the USA, candidates for cabinet positions are subjected to interviews, disclosures, and investigation by the FBI prior to appointment. Could we adopt a similar system? The PNP head, after all, is “civilian in character.”

The designation of DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano is another palpable first from the President. Internal review and house cleaning in the PNP is, sine qua non, preceding the appointment of a new PNP chief. Ano’s new directive to cops against personal use of confiscated or impounded motorcycles, cars, etc., from illegal activity is most welcome.  Standing policies, strategies, operational procedures, are under reviews. Internal accountability will be strengthened via an autonomous system for intelligence and investigative gathering to uncover crooked behavior, abuse, etc., among cops. There is also a need to put “more cops on motorcycles” to confront riding-in-tandem crimes in urban traffic; “gun amnesty” for the proliferation of loose and lost fire-arms; review of the current gun laws; agreements with LGUs & PDEA for the purchase of  portable incinerators to expedite disposal of drugs, etc.