It was almost a month since the 1st anniversary of the bloody 2010 Manila Hostage Crisis which raised once more speculations on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Despite the ups and downs, the police force has managed to rebuild its tainted image as evident from recent successful foiling and apprehending of criminals. The New PNP Chief now faces a challenge and at the same time carries the burden that various scandals conveyed.
The August 23 hostage taking in Manila last year tarnished not only the image of the police force but the whole country as well. The demoralizing incident has caused Hong Kong to issue a “black” travel alert to the Philippines, second only to the undermined Syria. The Filipinos in Hong Kong, on the other hand, also faces difficulties because of the Hong Kong nationals’ infuriation against Filipinos which sometimes result to discrimination. The incident instigated a large scale impact ranging from affected individuals to economic relations and tourism.
The PNP also faced another irregularities and transgressions because of the alleged torture videos. The recent torture videos exposed to the public extends from torturing of criminals and suspects to torturing of fellow policemen. Police criminal activity was also apparent when a police officer allegedly shot a Filipino-Norwegian national to death on a fight where the victim only came to help end a feud.
Aside from the numerous scandals the PNP has and is facing, it is also undeniable that the police force faces various problems internally such as the lack of PNP equipment especially during the hostage crisis. Police training also became an issue when the supposed “SWAT” or Special Weapons and Tactics team failed to thwart the lone hostage taker and prevent any casualties. The anomalies and scandals of the police force even went as far as the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) where it was scrutinized whether it’s performing the necessary steps to induce discipline and commitment to duty among its students. Amid the controversies, the PNP, however, managed to slowly bring back the trust of the people by nabbing a number of carnappers a month ago.
Controversial Police Chiefs
Field policemen weren’t the only ones who faced scandals, it should be noted that there is always a possibility that the high ranking officials of the PNP have something to do or is somewhat involved with such scandals and anomalies especially when money is implicated. The hot controversy regarding the alleged choppers sold to the PNP as brand new was very anomalous because of the PNP’s continuance of purchasing the choppers. That time, the chief was former PNP Chief Jesus Versoza. The investigation regarding the choppers is not yet over when another scandal broke out, the anomalous repair and refurbishing of 28 American made V-150 Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs). The PNP at that time was headed by former PNP Chief Avelino Razon. Concerns over the PNP’s anomalous purchase of rubber boats and outboard motors back in 2009 was also raised.
New Kid in Town
The new PNP Chief that will replace Dir. Gen. Raul Bacalzo is Deputy Director General Nicanor Bartolome II. He graduated in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Mapitagan” class of 1980. He held several posts before gaining recognition as the spokesman of the PNP from 1999-2001. He became the Provincial Director of his home province Tarlac in 2005 and served as Regional Director of the CALABARZON region for 2 months until August 2010. He later then became the Regional Director of NCR where he obtained his 2nd star and eventually a Chief of Directorial Staff where he obtained his 3rd star. The new PNP Chief aims to continue reforms in the PNP amid scandals and exclaimed his desire to bring back “self-pride” and “self-esteem” of every policeman because of anomalies of evident corruption among its leadership.
As the turnover commenced, the new PNP Chief would be keen in “discipline” in his direction. He also vowed to be an exemplar in “leadership” asserting to put the “right people to the right job.” With the strong and convincing words spoken by PNP Chief Bartolome, the public will look forward to the renewed PNP in terms of security, fair accusations, detachment from criminal activities, and most importantly, loyalty not to their superiors but to the people of the Philippines.