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Editorial

Fact, fiction and the PNP

/ 05:09 AM November 21, 2018

In the guise of a drug raid, the police kidnap a Korean businessman, steal some P540,000 in jewelry and other valuables from the household, and demand a P5-million ransom from his wife.

A closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera captures one of the cops withdrawing the money using the wife’s ATM card.

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But, on the same day of his abduction, the cops murder the businessman, strangling him inside his own car which they parked right inside Camp Crame, the national police headquarters, at a spot a mere distance from the office of the Philippine National Police chief himself.

The businessman’s remains are then cremated, his ashes flushed down the toilet, and his golf set used as payment to the funeral parlor for the cremation.

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About a year later, the leader of the police group tagged in the businessman’s slay is promoted to one-star rank and given a new antidrug post.

Fact or fiction?

A Mindoro anticrime crusader is assassinated by motorcycle-riding masked men.

Alert townmates give chase and corner the gunmen, who turn out to be two cops moonlighting as vigilantes.

After spending only eight months in prison, the cops are let out on bail and reinstated to active duty.

Fact or fiction?

During a sweeping drug raid in a poor community, CCTV footage captures a plainclothes cop dragging a boy to an alley; the 17-year-old boy is heard pleading for his life, saying he still had a school test the next day.

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He is eventually discovered lifeless, dead from gunshot wounds.

The case spawns such national outrage that it triggers the suspension of the government’s “war on drugs.”

The same police group is charged with the killing of two other boys, one 14 years old and the other 19.

Many months later, the city’s top cop is promoted to provincial police chief.

Fact or fiction?

A town mayor, already in jail as a suspected drug lord and rumored to have kept a record of his payoffs through the years to politicians, the police and other powerful figures, dies when cops barge into the local precinct in the dead of night, ostensibly to serve a search warrant.

The jail guards are disarmed and rounded up in a corner, while the town mayor is apparently executed in his cell.

Both the Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation conclude that the incident is a rubout, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) downgrades the charges from murder to homicide.

The 18 policemen involved are brought back to active duty in no time, and the team leader gets reinstated and promoted, on orders of the President himself.

Fact or fiction?

A 15-year-old girl accuses a cop of raping her in exchange for leniency toward her parents, both incarcerated for suspected drug-dealing.

A medical report confirms the assault on the girl.

Fact or fiction?

A suspected big-time drug lord, excoriated by the President no less on TV but also inexplicably given the chance to “explain himself” in person before the the President in Malacañang, is fingered in a Senate hearing by a confessed drug distributor as one of his main suppliers.

Charges are lodged against the businessman-suspect and an arrest warrant issued.

Three months hence, the police have yet to find him, while the DOJ says it’s “too early” to ask the help of Interpol.

Fact or fiction?

The public is not dumb; it knows that all the incidents above are fact, and that such crimes and lapses are what account for the PNP’s huge image problem at present.

According to its own records (and a letter to this paper — see today’s Letters), “from January 2016 to October 2018, 426 policemen have been dismissed from the service, 86 have been demoted, 4209 have been relieved and/or penalized with suspension….”

Well and good.

Any effort by the PNP to cleanse its ranks is commendable. But, clearly, it needs to do more, and that doesn’t include going after a TV show such as “Ang Probinsyano.”

The fact is, it’s silly for the police to blame a work of fiction for allegedly causing “unwanted damage to its dignity and reputation.”

It doesn’t need “Ang Probinsyano” to do that, since the many scalawags and rogues in uniform, empowered by a sense of impunity and the PNP’s abject failure to police its ranks, accomplish that dubious feat very well on their own.

The very idea, in fact, that the PNP, rather than focusing on doing its job, would threaten to slap charges against a fictional TV series for its supposed “wrongful portrayal of PNP officers as corrupt and ineffective” sounds like bad fiction.

But, no — at present, it’s a fact. And there lies the problem.

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TAGS: Ang Probinsyano, Inquirer editorial, Philippine National Police, PNP, PNP image, Rogue Cops
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