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Alan Purisima’s proposal takes life of its own

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10:55 PM November 23rd, 2012

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November 23rd, 2012 10:55 PM

The proposal of Deputy Director General Alan Purisima, incoming chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), to downgrade the educational qualification of a police candidate from a holder of a college diploma to a high school graduate is favored by the public.

At least, that’s what I gathered from talks with people from different walks of life since the item appeared in On Target on Thursday.

The consensus was that most policemen’s arrogance stems from their being college graduates.

“Hindi ako pinaaral sa kolehiyo ng aking mga magulang para maging utusan (I was not sent to college by my parents to become a servant),” an office employee quoted his policeman-friend as telling him during a drinking session where friends shoot the breeze.

So, why recruit college graduates who regard themselves so highly they hate being ordered around?

Why not recruit high school graduates or college undergraduates who wouldn’t be shy about patrolling the streets on foot, manning traffic and getting wet under the rain?

Most police noncommissioned officers, especially the new ones, think that their college diploma places them on the same level as their superiors.

That line of thinking erases the leader-follower concept in an organization so that there are no leaders and no followers.

Have you seen policemen patrol the streets on foot?

Have you seen a policeman direct traffic?

Have you seen a cop help old people cross the street?

The above-cited tasks are considered beneath a policeman’s “high stature.”

What did he go to college for if he does jobs he considers menial?

That’s the mentality of the ordinary policeman, especially the new ones.

* * *

Lawyer Nelson Borja couldn’t agree with Purisima more on recruiting high school graduates to the PNP.

“In 1968, I joined the PC Metrocom (Philippine Constabulary Metropolitan Command) as a high school graduate,” Borja said.
He said he studied at night after his duty and finished (Bachelor of Science in) Criminology and Law.

“I applied what I learned in school as an investigator and went up the ladder in the organization,” said Borja.

I met Borja when I was a reporter for the Manila Bulletin covering the police beat in 1980. At that time he was still a sergeant in the Metrocom North Sector under Col. Francisco Agudon.

When he finished law he became a lieutenant, but eventually left the force after he passed the bar to go into private law.

Borja, now a successful criminal lawyer, was an example of a cop who started from the bottom and worked his way up the police ladder.

* * *

I would up the ante on Purisima’s proposal: I propose that all cops start from the bottom without exception.

My proposal would do away with the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), where cadets become police inspector (second lieutenant in the Army) upon graduation.

Everybody, without exception, would start as Police Officer I and work his way up to the highest rank of Director General.

Of course, it’s survival of the best.

And since the PNP is a civilian and not a military organization, the President can appoint an outsider as PNP chief like what’s being done in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The director of the NBI, which is the premier law enforcement organization, is not necessarily a career agent but a presidential appointee.

So, why not do the same thing in the PNP?

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