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Strangers in the mirror

Cong Corrales .

“The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.” — Mark Twain

 

WITH what his operatives have been doing to the people they have sworn to serve and protect, a fictional character and plot of a television series should be the least of Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Abayalde’s concern.

It boggles the mind that Abayalde is so concerned with his perceived blowback with Ang Probinsyano to his organization’s integrity when his own personnel is doing a bang-up job tainting their organization themselves.

The fictional Cardo Dalisay, like most of the characters in Philippine cinema and television, acts as a mirror to the harsh realities of society. Television series, like most expressions of art, is included in the right to free expression — a right enshrined and guaranteed in our Constitution. Abayalde would do well not to shut down the show just because he doesn’t like what he sees in that mirror.

He should, instead, concentrate on working towards redeeming his organization’s reputation that, no less than, the President has labeled as “corrupt to the core.”

Why don’t we, in the spirit of public service, list PNP’s “greatest hits.” This list is not to demoralize our police but to point Abayalde to where he should focus on and not waste his time picking on a television show. Besides, from the looks of things, he has been watching way too much television.

For full disclosure, this list of crimes allegedly perpetrated by police officers has been culled from a simple Google search. However, it should be noted that these have been reported by reputable news organizations and some were reported by PNP top brass themselves.

Theft of electricity

Yesterday, GMA News reported that in Cagayan de Oro City, a police station has been using an illegal jumper cable to provide electricity to its camp.

Rape

The PNP’s Internal Affairs Service reported that they have since filed a total of 31 rape cases committed by 43 police officers from 2012 to 2018.

What’s more disturbing is that 2017 marked a stark increase in incidents of rape involving cops, at 15 rape cases. This year, PNP-IAS has been investigating cops involved in nine rape cases.

Kidnapping

In his report to Abayalde, Chief Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said eight cops assigned at the Muntinlupa City Police Station-Station Drug Enforcement Unit were involved in a kidnap-for-ransom case. They have since arrested four. The other four cops, however, are still at large.

Illegal drugs

Lawyer Alfegar Triambulo, inspector general of PNP-IAS reported in June this year to Abayalde that there have been 349 of its personnel who tested positive for illegal drug use. It is worth noting that the drug of choice of these police officers is shabu. The very substance the organization is supposedly sworn to eradicate.

Equally disconcerting in Triambulo’s report is the fact that of the 349 who tested positive for drugs use, 341 are uniformed personnel. Eight are non-uniformed personnel. The figure is 341 too many for an organization mandated to stamp out illegal drug use.

Extortion

The PNP’s Counter Intelligence Task Force arrested two cops caught extorting P250 in an entrapment operation by another cop who posed as an ordinary motorist on Feb. 12 last year.

As if the amount these cops extorted from a poseur-motorist is not embarrassing enough, the public knows this modus only to well. Where do you think the terms “kotong cops” and “scalawags” come from? These terms did not come out of thin air. It has been happening that is why this modus has been named.

Since the PNP has been ordered to focus on internal cleansing, the organization has received more than a thousand text messages reporting cases of scalawag cops.

Torture

Let’s not forget the 10 police officers who were suspended for running a secret prison where they illegally detain suspects and beat the living daylights out of them.

The detention facility, by the way, is not officially listed in the PNP’s detention facilities. It is a converted house in a residential area in Biñan, Laguna. It has been known to have used the infamous “Wheel of torture,” where different kinds of torture were written on a wheel and what the inmates spin for the choice of the kind of torture to be done to them.

Murders

This May, PNP reported that the organization killed 4,251 drug suspects in anti-drug operations between July 1, 2016, and April 30.

However, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay refutes the figure since this conflicted with another report the PNP bared to the public before.

Palabay pointed out that last December, the PNP reported at least 20,000 extrajudicial killings in anti-drug operation from July 1, 2016, to September, last year.

Talking of extrajudicial killings, this week we will be commemorating sans justice the Ampatuan Massacre.

Nine years ago on the morning of Nov. 23, 58 people, including lawyers and 32 of whom were media practitioners, were killed on a hilltop in the village of Masalay in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province. Nine years since the victims’ families have yet to exact justice from the most gruesome election-related violence in the world.

With all these cases hounding the PNP, it seems Abayalde has so much in his plate that the Cardo Dalisay, a fictional character at that, is much more threatening to the image and credibility of the police force of the country.

Here’s an unrequited advise to the good general: Lay off the boob tube and get your house in order.

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