Police ‘cleansing’ gets all-out support from Congress, LGUs

The headline above is not complete as any effort to “cleanse” the police membership of scalawags must be supported by all Filipinos, as there is no place at any time or in any administration for rogue cops. Any personnel in uniform must not, in any way or form, be involved in the illegal drugs trade or tainted with money produced from illicit transactions.

This development came on the heels of accusations that some top members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) — from full colonels up to generals — are allegedly involved in illegal drugs. To assure the public of transparency, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. tendered his courtesy resignation last Jan. 5, 2023, together with other top PNP officials. This move came after the call of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. to police officials to give the administration a “free hand” to investigate these serious allegations and conduct background checks.

“The call of the (DILG) Secretary is a test of individual character. As an answer, I am taking the lead to submit myself to such evaluation, assessment, and scrutiny by the committee. We, in the uniformed service, are trained and prepared, and are expected to prioritize public service over personal interests,” said Azurin. “The appeal for courtesy resignation addressed to our senior officers is a wakeup call to all PNP members, to reflect on how and what has happened in our respective careers.”

A five-member committee, which is independent of both PNP and DILG, will be handling the evaluation process of PNP officials.

The President welcomed this development and said that a “strong case will be built against PNP officials who are involved in the illegal drugs trade,” noting that the commission will “look into the records of all the officers and decide what to do to those who will be implicated.” The President added that the commission would also “reinstate those who are cleared of any drug links.”

Abalos has earlier said that the courtesy resignation of PNP senior officials is “an essential part of the government's efforts to win back the trust and confidence of the people in the PNP.”

Members of Congress hailed the call of Abalos and said that it is “right on time.” For one, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. said that it is “good for confidence-building between the organization and the public” and will show that “everyone is accountable, and no one is untouchable in the government.”

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), the MMDA’s policy-making body composed of the 17 NCR mayors, also expressed support.

“This call to cleanse the service was made in order to safeguard the integrity of public service and restore public trust and confidence in the PNP,” said the MMC. “These reforms are necessary to regain the trust and respect of the people for the PNP, as well as to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of the police force in achieving a drug-free Philippines.”

While we commend the action of Abalos in taking the lead to clean the PNP top ranks, we also commend Azurin for embracing the vetting process. Therefore, it is vital that the committee investigation be done in an absolute transparent, ethical, and impartial manner. Or else, this will just be a “cleansing” of the outside, with a rotten core still festering inside.