TURNING POINT: Of Unreason and Rogue Cops

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 09 July) — Is Mindanao such a hopeless case that it is made a garbage dump for undesirable law enforcers?

A year ago, 34 officers from the Philippine National Police in the National Capital Region were reassigned to Mindanao, particularly in  the Autonomous Regio in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),   as a disciplinary measure for their corrupt and  nefarious  practices. They were known as the ninja cops, police officers  in the forefront of the PNP’s efforts to neutralize drug rings, who tried to enrich themselves by recycling or reselling  drugs seized  during operations.

In January this year, 50 out of the 300  cops who had committed various dishonorable  acts in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities were deployed to Basilan. No information so far has surfaced as to what happened to the 250 cops who disobeyed the deployment order to Basilan. Were all these officers and cops who have sullied the honor and reputation of the PNP  charged for their various  offenses and dismissed for good,  or were  they simply kept or allowed to hang around on paid vacation at Camp Crame?

Last week,  two more rogue cops who were caught sadistically beating a suspect to  a pulp in Mandaluyong City were also reassigned  to  Marawi City, at the thick of the shooting war in the devastated city.

It is not very clear whether the deployment of these undesirables in conflicted areas in Mindanao, Basilan and Sulu  was to discipline or to get rid of  them by feeding them to the Abu Sayyaf or Maute terrorists.  Almost certain is that the quickness of the decision on their plight did not warrant the filing of criminal or administrative charges against them to deserve their fate.  On the other hand, the quick and  rapid deployment bereft of  any investigation anent their offenses is  tantamount  to coddling of scoundrels and scalawags in the PNP ranks.

This   practice of making  Mindanao and other islands close to it as a  dumping ground for abusive undesirable law enforcers  aside from being childish and whimsical is insensitive. It is childish because that’s how naughty kids are being disciplined: threatening to send them  to some dark dreadful places where witches  -“manananggal”, “aswang” and “ balbal” dwell.

It’s whimsical because it is done at the spur of a moment, unreasoned and outside official policy.

It is insensitive because the whimsical decision does not consider the feeling and rightful expectations of the affected people in the area, the sorry social state of the islands.

Officially, the intention of deploying police officers to a community is to help that community secure its peace and order.  Cops with intrinsic moral values and high sense of duties are needed for the job. Deploying to Mindanao cops with criminal minds and sordid social behavior gravely threatens and undermines what little and fragile peace and order we have. Their presence and integration with the local cops may yet pollute the latter.

What is being done adds insult to injury. Mindanao and the southern  islands have long been ravaged by the protracted struggle and adventurism of Moro secessionists, communist-NPA  marauders and by the murderous,  rampaging small brothers of the ISIS terrorists –  Abu Sayyaf and the Mautes.

It’s a pity that the idea to exile rogue criminal cops to Mindanao is fashioned no less than by PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa who incidentally hails from Mindanao. With due respect to the good General, the policy shows no iota of respect for Mindanawons , Christians and Muslims alike. It seems we are perceived and looked down so low, thus are shitted upon with that  PNP anomaly.

The redeployment of erring cops to wherever for whatever purpose or reason without the benefit of being tried for their offenses is bad administrative policy. It smacks of coddling, favoritism and patronage politics; worse, it invites suspicion, say,  that these cops are being  kept away, made invisible to the public because of serious crimes they might have committed involving their top superiors.

The PNP Chief is  no doubt intelligent and is highly dedicated to the service. It’s high time that he reconsider and stop his erring cops redeployment policy to stop wild speculations about it.

To restore and protect  the image of the command, he could put up a  PNP hearing tribunal to conduct summary proceedings for all erring cops. Those found guilty should be dismissed outright and need not be given anymore a chance in the service, say, by retraining them. Law enforcement is a serious business that should not be left in the hands of proven lawbreakers. It might be cheaper, productive and advantageous to the command to recruit fresh blood for the corps; and mold and shape them with the values and idealism required of the service.  (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan is a retired professor and former chancellor of the Mindanao State University Naawan campus in Misamis Oriental).