Police lingo baredBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Should you come across police officers talking in code on their radios, the mention of “John en Marsha” doesn’t necessarily mean they have been watching reruns of the popular Dolphy sitcom.
Rather, it refers to a spat one of them may be having with his wife: Officer John versus his commander Marsha.
For philandering officers, it’s the mistress—not the legal wife—who is referred to as “01.”
“Code 2” was allegedly used by Senior Police Officer 4 Jose de la Peña, who was recently dismissed from the Quezon City Police District, as a euphemism for his mulcting activities. It does sound like “kotong,” the Filipino term for extortion.
“Policemen have codes which have double meanings, one official, the other not-so-official,” according to a senior officer who obviously did not want to be named since he is divulging a secret language which may vary, depending on the city or police district one is assigned to.
“Kotong” money may be classified as “crying money” if it was forcibly taken from the victim. On the other hand, it is called “laughing money” if it was willingly given by a person to a policeman as a supposed token of gratitude for a job well done, the official said.
But wait, there’s more. The term “bangketa” does not refer to the sidewalk but the act of bribing a policeman before he can bring an arrested suspect to the precinct.
When a corrupt policeman manages to put one over his fellow lawmen by taking a bigger share of the “proceeds” from an extortion racket, he pulls off a scheme known as “bukulan.” In everyday speech, “bukol” is the lump you get when somebody whacks you hard on the head.
Protection money is “patong” and if you collect it from different sources, don’t be surprised if people say you go around in an “orbit.”
The senior official, however, clarified that although this underground lexicon has become rich and colorful through the years, it does not mean that corruption in the police force has become that rampant.
“Maybe in 100 policemen, only five to 10 are kotong cops,” he said. “And unlike before, there are many ways today to report their activities. Many of us in the force want to put an end to the scalawags who tarnish our reputation as a whole.”
He added that not all the terms stand for things nefarious. “Code 2,” for example, originally meant an order to investigate until it became synonymous with extortion.
If there is a Code 2, there is also a “Code 1” which has an innocuous meaning. As a verb, it means “to extend assistance” while as a noun, it refers to the Philippine president.
When a superior tells a younger officer to do a “Code 4,” it’s a command to let go of a certain task or person.
Other numerical codes refer to crimes or related situations, although some of them have naughty, alternate meanings.
A “1-6-6” points to a shooting. A “1-5-5” may refer to a stabbing incident but it can also mean a sex partner.
Illegal gambling is a “16-0-2,” an apparent reference to Presidential Decree No. 1602 which prescribes stricter penalties for illegal vices.
A drug case is a “91,” short for Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
A “2-5” is an instruction to meet somewhere in connection with an official mission although it’s also commonly used by off-duty policemen who simply want to get together for a drink.
When you report a “3-0-1,” you could end up being ordered by your superior to go after this suspicious-looking person or suspected criminal. On the other hand, a dead person who tells no tales is pronounced “1-0-0.”
If you are the complainant in a crime, you are a “10-1-7.” If you are in a rally, you are in a “10-1-5” and the police may be watching you.
A suspect is referred to as “sierra” while an informant or asset is valued for being the “alpha” of potential leads. But the terms for their genders can be quite tricky: ‘’Mama” actually stands for male and the strong ‘’whiskey” stands for female.
The officer well-versed in police code can thus bark out a cryptic sentence: “Code 2 alarm 1-6-6 with 3-0-1.” Simply put, it is a request to investigate a reported shooting with the suspect still at the scene.
Minutes later, the reply may go like this: “Negative upon Code 2. Just a John en