PNP: ‘Patay Nang Patay’?
Time was when a police uniform was a badge of honor. Now it is a symbol of shame and dishonor. In spite of the fact that many policemen are honorable and love this country dearly like the rest of us, bad times have fallen on the Philippine National Police, which the public now derisively calls “Patay nang Patay” (always killing), since it was seemingly converted into a killing machine immune from legal prosecution.
Years ago in my small town in Laguna, we used to kiss the hand of our chief of police the way we kissed the hand of our parish priest as a sign of respect. Now, when people see policemen, they talk in whispers, “Hoy, may pulis (There’s a cop)!” It’s so saddening.
In many poor communities, fear is the order of the day due to the frequent extrajudicial killings.
At the Sept. 5 Senate hearing on the murder of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa shed copious tears because he felt that the senators were giving him and his policemen a bad rap. But not a single drop of Dela Rosa’s tears will ever assuage the terrible injustice done to the grieving hearts of parents and relatives of those murdered in cold blood by criminal operatives of the administration.
Prior to Rodrigo Duterte’s election as president, people feared drug addicts and criminal elements. Now they also fear policemen who act with impunity because of Mr. Duterte’s promise to absolve them from legal prosecution for killing users of illegal drugs whom he considers less human.
One of the fears of those working on night shifts, like call center agents, is the danger of getting caught in the brutal war on drugs. People are asking, “Who will protect us from the policemen? Who will police the police?”
A policeman-friend said to me one day that when he walks in the malls, he hangs his head in shame. “If only looks could kill, I would already have died a thousand deaths the way people throw dagger looks at me!” he said.
Indeed, one of the legacies of this administration is the brutalization of the PNP.
CARLOS D. ISLES, firstname.lastname@example.org
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