National Capital Region Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar and Southern Police District Chief Tomas Apolinario Jr. inspect drugs found at the premises of Time Bar in Makati City.—GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
MANILA, Philippines — “To serve and protect” is the utmost mandate given to the Philippine National Police (PNP), and in 2018 the organization found itself struggling to live up to this mission.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has admitted that 2018 was “both a great challenge and success” for the police force.
Albayalde took oath as PNP chief in April, replacing the controversial Director General Bato dela Rosa, who during his leadership in the force, was among the government officials who played a crucial role in the government’s war on drugs.
In a statement sent two days before the New Year, Albayalde said the police “continued to struggle through the institutional and social obstacles that often got in the way” of law enforcement and their mission to provide safety to the public.
‘Palit-puri,’ other cases vs cops
The PNP struggled with a knot of cases thrown against its officers, including the alleged sex-for-freedom scheme, or “palit-puri” in street lingo, which could be considered the most startling among other allegations.
In this alleged practice, female suspects can get liberty if they have sex with police officers.
Three officers have so far been arrested after being accused of engaging in the “palit-puri” scheme, including two who allegedly had sex with a female suspect inside a patrol car parked at a dimly-lit area in Quezon City.
READ: Cop in ‘palit-puri’ scheme charged / This time, 2 QC cops held on ‘palit-puri’ raps
Other dastardly acts
In some cases, police officers themselves arrest or kill during legitimate police operations their colleagues alleged to have been involved in drugs.
A total of 111 police officers were found to be allegedly involved in illegal drugs since January to October 2018, according to data from the PNP.
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Others were also criminally charged for alleged extortion, gun running, or even joining illegal cockfight.
Revitalized internal cleansing
It was also in 2018 when the PNP has revitalized its internal cleansing program, which has a three-pronged approach: preventive, punitive, and restorative.
READ: PNP bares three-pronged approach to internal cleansing program
In January to October 2018 alone, 11,613 personnel have been slapped with administrative cases filed by the PNP as part of the program.
These include cases of rape, murder, and homicide, said PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., who clarified that many of the cases were only about minor violations of administrative rules.
Durana assured the PNP was not taking the cases sitting down, adding that “now, everyone is being measured” as the police intensified its internal cleansing.
Earlier this year, the PNP was buffeted by criticism for launching a crackdown on loiterers in line with the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte, although the PNP later clarified that only a few were arrested and the rest were merely “accosted.”
READ: PNP: No ‘tambay’ arrested, only ‘accosted’
Despite the controversies, the PNP said it has some accomplishments to speak of, two of which were in the area of the drug war, which has killed 5,050 as of November based on government data, and in the field of law and order where the police saw a decrease in crime rate.
Albayalde said the PNP went “full steam” in its drive against crime and illegal drugs in 2018, “backed by the full support of the national government.”
READ: Crime rate in 3rd quarter of 2018 lower than previous – PNP chief
Some police officers were also killed in police operations in the line of duty.
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“The greatest achievement of the year is best quantified in real numbers in terms of continuing significant decline of crime incidents, swift solution of most sensational cases and marked improvement in our capability to prevent and solve crime with greater discipline, professionalism, and dedication in the ranks,” Albayalde said.
He said the “popular empirical impression” of safety among the public has also manifested positive change in the quality of life of many Filipinos in 2018./ac
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