MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III challenged new graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy Friday to prioritize the welfare of the marginalized in the face of temptations that they may meet along their way of serving the public.
In the commencement exercises of class Tagapamagitan 2013 in Silang Cavite, Aquino noted the alleged involvement of police officers in alleged anomalies, particularly the sacking of several officials in the Caraga Region over illegal logging activities and in the Atimonan shooting incident that killed 13 people.
“Malinaw po ang batas ko bilang Commander-in-Chief at hindi optional ang pagsunod sa batas. Wala akong sisinuhin sa nagtitigas-tigasan pa rin sa ating kautusan,” the President said.
Aquino also noted “clear” operational lapses in the Atimonan incident in Quezon, saying that justice was placed in the hands of some men.
But the President said his statement was not meant to motivate negativism, but was a way of preparing the incoming officers for the challenges that they may face in their chosen profession.
“My order to Tagapamagitan Class of 2013: Let’s not fail our boss – the Filipino people. I am hopeful that in the midst of the temptations of wealth and power, you will put the interests of the oppressed,” Aquino said in Filipino.
“More than offering protection, you will serve as intermediaries who will bring the citizenry closer to the men in uniform, the bridge that will bring peace and order in our lives and will unite every Juan dela Cruz amidst differences and conflicts in society,” he said.
In the performance of their duty, Aquino said he expected that the officers would follow what’s right and what they think would be the best for the majority.
He also asked them to be fair in the manner of how they would address problems within their agencies.
“At this juncture where you are steeped in idealism and eager to be of service, perhaps this will be easy to say ‘yes, we are ready to serve the Filipino”, Aquino said, adding that this is best measured by how they pair their words with concrete actions.
There are 252 graduates under class Tagapamagitan, 90 percent of who are set to enter the police force while the rest will be deployed with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Fire Protection.
Lawyer Ruben R. Platon, president of the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC)—the agency that administers the PNPA—said members of this year’s graduating class have adopted “Tagapamagitan,” as the name for their class which means, mediator or arbitrator, as they aim to bridge the gap between the members of law enforcement and the community.
The PPSC president also said male cadets dominated this year’s top 10 with 22-year-old cadet from Iguig, Cagayan identified as Jhon Felix Gutierrez Pascual Jr. at the number one post.
As the top graduate, Pascual received the Presidential Kampilan Award from Aquino, as well as the Chief PNP Kampilan Award from PNP Chief Alan Purisima.
Cadet Christian Palustre Javier, 25, from Masanlay, Oriental Mindoro, placed second, while cadet Davis Vicente Dulawan, 23, from Lamut, Ifugao, placed third.
Other top 10 graduates include, Cadets Mohammad Fadhad Dinampo Julwadi, 23, from Sta. Barbara, Zamboanga City (4th place); Markson Solomon Almeranez, from Sta. Mesa, Manila (5th place); Aiman Jumlani Kamlon, from Jolo, Sulu (6th place); Mark Francis Tupaz Bauya, from Abuyog, Leyte (7th place); Nino Villanueva Aquiatan from Taft, Eastern Samar (8th place); Aiman Khuzaimah Pagayawan Pantaran, from Lanao del Norte, (9th place); and ZynonAclinenPaiking, from La Trinidad, Benguet (10th place.)