Police reform: Focus on mindset, not on name
President Duterte recently let out his intention to revive the Philippine Constabulary (PC). In all likelihood, it will come to nothing but a change of name for the existing police institution everybody knows today as the Philippine National Police. Mr. Duterte probably hopes that by changing the name of the PNP, it will change the overall character of policemen and change the police force for the better.
This idea of the President has, however, been met, rightly, with a barrage of criticism. Human rights groups immediately objected to it, citing the atrocities committed by the PC during martial law. “Philippine Goonstabulary,” some of its victims say it was.
President Duterte may have made his off-the-cuff announcement in a moment of pique with rogue cops. He should have looked into the history of the PC before publicly floating the idea and, perhaps, he would have been able to come up with a reasoned plan. As it is, the idea appears to have popped out of the blue and was announced without undergoing an intelligent appraisal.
Would “bringing back” the Philippine Constabulary into existence trigger pleasant memories or relive past nightmares?
The crux of the matter, however, is not in having a new, recycled or different name for our police force. Whatever name it dons, it will not bring about any change if abusive and brutish police practices are allowed to continue.
The President should not focus on the name but on overhauling (through reorientation programs) the prevailing mindset and attitude of policemen, which definitely are not geared toward maintaining peace and order and protecting the citizens, not even on respecting the law.
If they imbibe the right mindset and attitude of true peacekeepers, agents of law, officers and gentlemen, President Duterte can give their organization any name he fancies.
MARK E. PARAS JR. and RAMON DIÑO, [email protected]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.