The best time for purg­ing

Manila Times - - OPINION -

THE or­der by Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion Po­lice chief Os­car Al­bay­alde to re­lieve the en­tire Caloocan City po­lice force of duty and un­dergo re­train­ing on the rule of law echoes the des­per­ate call of the times to rid the na­tion’s po­lice of the cor­rupt and the wicked.

Al­bay­alde’s or­der on Fri­day rang out at the height of peo­ple’s out­rage over the spate of killings of teenaged boys in the city in re­cent weeks, all of which are blamed on the city’s po­lice unit. The last body was found in a creek in Nueva Ecija, around 170 kilo­me­ters north of Caloocan ear­lier this month.

Another in­ci­dent in­volved a group of po­lice of­fi­cers from a Caloocan precinct raid­ing on Septem­ber 7 an el­derly woman’s home that a tip­ster claimed was a drug den. No drugs were found, but some mem­bers of the raid­ing team were caught on cam­era steal­ing a wal­let, a cou­ple of watches and a mo­bile phone from the raided house.

What made the raid more ques­tion­able was the ab­sence of a search war­rant, a clear, un­mis­tak­able breach of law en­force­ment pro­to­cols.

Al­bay­alde was quite ex­plicit in giv­ing the erring po­lice of­fi­cers a dress­ing- down. “You wasted the chance given to you by the gov­ern­ment to serve as po­lice of­fi­cers. That chance was not given to you so you could rob peo­ple!”

His or­der re­liev­ing an en­tire po­lice force of 1,200 mem­bers by batches could not have been more des­per­ate and ap­pro­pri­ate be­cause such de­testable act by of­fi­cers of the law must be met with the most strin­gent dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

The im­punity of such of­fenses by men of the law be­comes stark in the face of the vi­sion- and­mis­sion state­ment of the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion Po­lice Of­fice:

“The Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion Po­lice en­vi­sions it­self by 2030 as an em­i­nently de­pend­able, ef­fi­cient, re­spon­si­ble, and highly re­spected po­lice force, at­tain­ing an in­ter­ac­tive com­mu­nity, safe from crimes and dis­or­der, so that the fam­i­lies, cit­i­zens, and vis­i­tors are liv­ing, work­ing, and do­ing busi­ness in a se­cured Metropoli­tan en­vi­ron­ment.”

“The NCRPO, in its as­signed ju­ris­dic­tion ( Metro Manila), shall en­force the law, pre­vent and con­trol crimes, main­tain peace and or­der, and en­sure public safety and in­ter­nal se­cu­rity with the ac­tive sup­port of the com­mu­nity.”

For the first time in the his­tory of the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice, all per­son­nel in the city’s head­quar­ters and seven dis­tricts, start­ing with precincts 2 and 7, will be re­placed tem­po­rar­ily by the com­bat- trained re­gional public safety bat­tal­ion.

The mes­sage of the or­der is quite clear and rel­e­vant, to do what is un­mis­tak­ably right, with no room for im­punity.

Al­bay­alde and all the lead­ers of the lo­cal po­lice forces all over the coun­try are in a po­si­tion to make a dif­fer­ence in clean­ing up their lo­cal units now. They must act, not nec­es­sar­ily in a des­per­ate man­ner but to do what is right even in to­tally des­per­ate sit­u­a­tions, to purge their ranks of the cor­rupt and wicked el­e­ments that do not be­long there. Now is the best time to do the purg­ing. What we have in our hands is a golden op­por­tu­nity to change.

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