By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Police officers involved in illegal activities, especially in illegal drugs, should receive twice the punishment for violating their mandate to uphold the laws of the land, Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Eduardo Año said yesterday.
Año, in an interview with Communication Secretary Martin Andanar, said he is still giving erring police officers, a small percentage of 180,000 cops, a chance to reform as he expressed that more help is needed to make President Duterte’s drug war a success.
However, the former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff admitted that changing the public’s negative perception of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not be an easy task even if only a small percentage of the police force is involved in illegal activities.
“Mahabang proseso ito, kasi hindi mo ito mababago overnight, eh (This will be a long process because reforming the PNP will not happen overnight),” Año said in his interview with Andanar over Radyo Pilipinas.
“Alam mo, 180,000 iyong kapulisan natin eh kung iko-compare mo talaga iyong mga gumagawa ng kalokohan, napakaliit na porsiyento, pero dapat wala talaga, kasi iyon yung sinumpaan nating tungkulin eh (We have 180,000 policemen and the rogue ones, they are only a small percentage. But there should not even be one rogue cop as it goes against our sworn duty),” he added.
Año said rogue cops should receive twice the punishment but expressed that these police officers are not hopeless cases.
“Dapat ang parusa doon sa mga pulis na gumagawa ng ganiyan, doble iyong parusa kasi binigyan ka ng mandato para ipatupad ang batas tapos ikaw iyong lalabag (These police officers should receive twice the punishment because they are the ones violating their mandate to uphold and enforce the law),” he said.
“Sa akin, mayroon pang pagkakataon na magbago sila at tumulong para labanan itong drugs at itong mga tao na ito, mayroon naman tayong listahan niyan (For me, there is still chance for them to change and help fight illegal drugs. We have a list in the first place),” he added.
Año said the same thing for politicians who are involved in the illegal drug trade.
“Ito iyong tamang pagkakataon na i-give up nila at the same time tumulong sa kampanya kasi wala naman tayong sasantuhin dito eh (This is the right time for them to give up their connection to illegal drugs and help in the campaign because we will spare no one),” he said.
“Kapag hindi sila sumunod sa ganyan ay talagang hindi lang sila matatanggal sa serbisyo o sa puwesto, talagang sisiguraduhin natin na makukulong sila (If not, they will be removed from service and I will make sure they will go to jail),” he added.
Start from scratch
Año said that in order to reform the PNP, they have to start from scratch and trace where the problem is originating.
“Kailangan pag-aralan mo iyong papaano na-develop iyong kultura or kagawian na bakit may mga pulis na gumagawa ng illegal at nawawala sa landas (We need to study how they developed this kind of culture of getting involved in illegal activities),” he said.
“Pag-aaralan natin mula doon sa pag-recruit, iyong training niya, iyong deployment niya at iyong kaniyang mga orientation ay pag-aaralan din natin lahat iyan (We will look into the recruitment, training, deployment, orientation, everything),” he added.
In November, 2017, President Duterte said that he was considering a total revamp of the PNP as he disclosed that there are still a lot of rogue cops in the organization despite his promise to double their salary.
“I’ll tell you the truth, PNP, National Police, there are a lot of scalawags there,” Duterte said in a press conference following the closing of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits.
“Doblado na sweldo mo. Sana ‘wag naman akong makarinig ng kinokolektahan mo, kinikikilan mo. Sana naman ho (Your salaries have been doubled. I hope that I will not hear that you will still be extorting),” he added.
DILG officials and employees welcome Año as their new head.
“We are confident that OIC Ano will lead the DILG in achieving its reform agenda in support of President Duterte’s priority thrusts. We believe that his experience, professionalism, and dedication to service prepared him well to lead this Department as he builds up on the efforts began by Cuy in the government’s anti-illegal drugs, anti-crime and anti-corruption programs,” said Undersecretary Austere Panadero.
On the other hand, DILG Employees Union president Kieth Lagmay said that “The DILG Employees Union expresses its strong message of support to new OIC Eduardo S. Ano as he shepherds the DILG flock to be of better and more efficient service to local governments and the public in general.” (With a report from Chito A. Chavez)