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The sorry state of discipline within the PNP

July 13, 2019


SEN. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has apologized for his insensitive remark — “shit happens” — over the death of a three-year-old girl at the hands of policemen during a “buy-bust” operation.

When a person apologizes for his mistake, as dela Rosa did, he should immediately be forgiven.

That’s how it is in polite society. No conditions should be set in forgiving a person who apologizes.

* * *

Let’s go back to the neophyte senator’s remark that has gone viral on social media.

The good but lamebrained senator was asked about the death of a three-year-old child who was caught in the crossfire between the police and a drug pusher.

“Shit happens,” he said.

The remark shocked the public and went viral on social media.

Such a wicked or dim-witted comment on the death of a girl at the hands of bumbling policemen was not expected of a senator.

The public expected dela Rosa to express sympathy towards the girl’s relatives and say soothing words like, “It’s unfortunate that incident had to happen…etc.”

How did that “shit” happen?

Policemen tried to arrest Renato Dolorfina who was caught red-handed pushing drugs to a poseur-buyer.

In trying to escape, Dolorfina grabbed his daughter, Myka, and made her a human shield.

The arresting cops shot both father and daughter in the ensuring shootout between Dolorfina and the police.

However, Police Master Sgt. Conrado Cabigao was shot dead during the shootout.

It could not be ascertained whether Cabigao was shot by Dolorfina or by his fellow cops.

According to initial police reports, Cabigao acted as poseur-buyer. Therefore, there’s a possibility he could have been shot by his fellow cops in the crossfire.

(In my years as a police reporter, I have known of policemen being shot by fellow cops in crossfire or hostages being hit by bullets fired from cops’ firearms as in the infamous Luneta hostage crisis in August 2010.)

* * *

It will take many years for our policemen to become adept at arresting crime suspects or handling hostage situations.

The Philippine National Police should now start training its officers corps and rank-and-file members in the science or art of handling crisis situations and dealing with the nosy public.

As Mao Zedong said, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.”

The remark of dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, should be a wake-up call.

* * *

As a parting shot, here’s my unsolicited advice to dela Rosa, who’s now a full-fledged senator.

First, he may want to have tutorials in English where grammar, pronunciation and nuances of the language will be taught.

Perhaps, you can enlist the help of my brother Ben who talks in “werz-werz” fashion. Hahaha!

English is the lingua franca in the Senate where some members graduated from US Ivy League schools.

If he wants to fight for his bill, he should be able to express himself well in English. Otherwise, he will just be the laughingstock in the august body.

Bato should take a leaf from Ping Lacson and Greg Honasan, his fellow alumni at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), who were articulate in both English and Filipino even before becoming senators.

* * *

Another video that has gone viral is the abusive behavior of Police Senior Master Sgt. Arnulfo Ardales inside a carinderia in San Juan City.

Ardales, who was in full uniform, made a scene at the carinderia after he insisted in being served first ahead of another customer.

He even threatened to arrest a customer who Ardales claimed was disrespecting his badge and uniform.

The civilian customer disrespected Ardales because the other customer asserted his right to be served first in the eatery with a first-come, first-served policy?

Many policemen are like Ardales; they feel entitled because of their badge and uniform.

They treat civilians like “shit” to borrow a word from former police chief dela Rosa.

If all the abusive, incompetent and corrupt policemen are taken out of the force, the number of PNP personnel will be cut by half. Or even more.

That’s the sorry state of the discipline within our PNP.

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