If police cannot prevent crime, they should at least solve them.
Partido Reporma presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo Lacson and former Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar aired the same comment as they condemned the murder of veteran journalist Jesus Malabanan in Calbayog City, Samar on December 9.
Malabanan was a Pampanga native who used to cover for various news agencies local government units and police commands in Region III. He relocated to Samar with his family upon receiving death threats, reportedly for helping an international news agency expose the involvement of law enforcers in extra judicial killings (EJKs) relating to the drug war launched by the Duterte administration.
The Philippine National Police said a land dispute could be a motive but this theory received quick rejection from various journalists groups.
In a press conference in Catarman, Northern Samar on Sunday, Dec. 12 Lacson and his party were asked to comment on the Malabanan murder.
“If you are not able to prevent, at least, i-solve mo iyong hindi mo na-prevent, (solve what you were not able to prevent)” said Lacson, who headed the PNP before becoming a senator.
He said the murder case should be solved “with dispatch.”.
Nevertheless, Lacson lauded PNP chief P/General Dionardo Carlos for forming a task force to investigate the Malabanan case, saying this is the ‘first right move.” Eleazar, also a former head of the country’s police force, said Malabanan was a friend whom he met when he was assigned to Region III.
“Yon nga ang sinasabi natin na siguro ay dapat iyong capability ng pulis ay maging magaling. Hindi iyong parami nang parami ang pulis pero iyon pong ating capability na magaling na pag-iimbestiga ay dapat din. (That’s what we have been saying that maybe police capability should be good. It’s not that the police force is growing in number while we maintain good capability to investigate),” said Eleazar, who is seeking a senatorial seat in 2022.
The former PNP chief admitted that there have been times when police rely to the testimony of witnesses, who, at times, declare false statements.
“Kaya nga minsan naakusahan tayo sa pag-iimbento at paglalagay ng ebidensya para ma-solve ang isang kaso. (That is why were are sometimes being accused of making up (accusation) and of planting evidence just to solve a case),” he said.
Eleazar said it is high time for the police to guarantee transparency in investigating cases, adding that government should provide probers “modern technology and state-of-the-art equipment” in solving crimes.
Lacson and Eleazar vowed to pursue the modernization of the police investigation processes as part of solving and deterring crimes.