Can they still be reformed?
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The report yesterday that a police chief and 14 of his men have been recommended for the filing of administrative cases in connection with the killing of one of their colleagues is another black mark on the already tattered reputation of our policemen.
This is not to say that we are tarring the records of every member of the police organization, because, as argued by some of their officers, the bad eggs do not constitute the majority of the cops. We do have reports of some who perform their tasks honorably and with dedication and commitment, and even risk their lives while doing so.
The case of the policemen facing administrative charges, however, is quite a unique one. They are being sanctioned for perceived delay in responding to the report of a shooting incident in which the victim was a fellow cop. As reported by a special task force created to investigate the killing, that happened in, of all places, a cockpit, seven of them were right there and had witnessed the incident, and yet, had done nothing. Earlier reports said they were to be charged for cowardice, but later it was also stated that they will be charged with simple neglect of duty.
The question that bugs the public is this: What were all those policemen doing inside a cockpit, a place supposed to be off-limits to them, except when they are on an official mission? Could their inaction have been caused by their fear of being noted to be in a place they are not supposed to enter?
It is also noteworthy that the victim himself was also reported to be the owner of the cockfighting arena. What kind of a sideline is that for a so-called law enforcer?
These are among the incidents that must have prodded the national police organization to initiate rigid trainings and re-orienting of police officers. For some of them, however, it is doubtful that training at this stage will be of much help. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But, for our own sakes, and for the sake of the safety and security of our entire citizenry, let us hope that we see some reforms in our supposed protectors, some of whom are turning out to be the worst law-breakers.*