Over 26,000 PNP personnel slapped with admin cases since Duterte’s term
Over 26,000 personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have been slapped with administrative charges since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term until October 2018.
Data from the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management showed that 13,700 administrative cases have been filed against 26,266 PNP personnel since July 2016 until October this year. Duterte took his oath as President on June 30, 2016.
Of the total number of personnel, 25,968 or 99 percent are uniformed or those engaged in law enforcement operations, while only 298 or one percent are non-uniformed or those involved in administrative work.
Administrative charges can be filed against the personnel for violating rules and regulations of the PNP or for committing a criminal offense, PNP Spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said in an interview.
Durana said criminal offenses committed by their personnel range from murder, rape and homicide, among others.
He also said police officers with the most number of charges are those with PO1 to PO3 ranks.
Only 67 percent resolution rate
According to the data, only 9,201 complaints against 14,758 PNP personnel or 67 percent of all cases have been resolved. Another 33 percent or 4,499 cases against 11,508 personnel are still pending.
Of the cases filed so far in 2018, only 2,132 personnel or 18 percent had their cases resolved out of 11,613 personnel with charges filed against them.
Durana acknowledged that the pending cases must be resolved “as soon as possible,” but said that “now, everyone is being measured” as the PNP intensifies its internal cleansing program.
The data also showed that of the penalized personnel, 2,448 have been dismissed from service, 491 have been demoted, and most personnel or 4,697 have been suspended.
Meanwhile, 154 have been forfeited of their salary, 543 have been reprimanded, 33 have been restricted, and 58 have been withheld of their privileges including incentives and bonuses.
But 3,988 personnel have also been exonerated or acquitted for their offenses, and 2,248 others had their administrative cases dismissed for lack of probable cause.
Another 27 have been admonished or warned by their superiors, while 71 have been restored, reappointed, reinstated, or had their leave credits charged.
‘Not going easy on cops’
Despite the huge number of personnel who were acquitted or had their cases dismissed, Durana said the PNP was not going easy on erring PNP personnel.
“Hindi naman siguro. May due process naman tayo eh (Maybe not. We have a due process anyway),” he said, citing that some cases were being filed not due to malfeasance but because of “wrong motives” or other reasons.
He also said not all personnel with administrative cases were scalawags.
“Nakakasuhan sila dahil sa heat of the moment na nagkasagutan, or nakasuhan sila dahil sa parang counter-charge harassment (They filed cases because of the heat of the moment or because they had a heated argument, or because of counter-charge harassment),” Durana said.
“Not necessarily scalawags itong mga ito eh. Kung minsan nagkakamali ka rin sa mga procedures (these are scalawags. Sometimes, you also make mistakes in the procedures),” he said.
He also said not all dismissed policemen could be considered erring officers.
“Sometimes, it’s because probably at some point in time, nagka-problem ka, nag-AWOL (Absence Without Official Leave) ka, [you had] personal issues,” Durana said.
(Sometimes, it’s because probably at some point in time, you had a problem, you went AWOL, you had personal issues.)
According to Durana, the only policemen the PNP legitimately considers as scalawags were around 1,800 police officers on the list of the agency’s Counter-Intelligence Task Force aimed at running after scalawags.
Recycling in the PNP?
Critics say recycling persists in the PNP, as it appoints previously relieved officers due to controversies to other posts after a certain period.
For instance, Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo was relieved in August 2017 as chief of the Metro Manila’s Northern Police District for command responsibility over the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City.
But in June 2018, Fajardo resurfaced in the headlines, this time for his appointment as the new director of the PNP Highway Patrol Group.
Then Caloocan City Police chief Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna was also sacked over the incident, but was later reassigned as director of the Bulacan Provincial Police Office.
On November 29, the three policemen linked to delos Santos’ death — two of them with PO1 rank and another a PO3 — were found guilty of murder by the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court Branch 125.
Durana, however, admitted that administrative relief was in itself not a punishment. He said it only removed the police from his post to ensure impartiality in investigations.
He also said both Fajardo and Bersaluna were reassigned to other positions since the probe showed they did not have liability over delos Santos’ death.
“The preliminary investigation found out that wala naman silang liability doon (that they don’t have a liability there). They are not involved whatsoever sa ginawa ng kanilang mga tauhan (in what their personnel did),” Durana said.
He said they were given new posts since they were “good” policemen.
“Magagaling na mga opisyal ito eh, so ginamit sila ng PNP (These officials are good, so they were used by the PNP),” he said.
“Pero kapag hindi alam kasi ng taong bayan na may due process tayo, [criticism happens] (But if the countrymen don’t know that we have due process, criticism happens). You are proven innocent unless proven otherwise, proven beyond reasonable doubt by the competent court,” Durana said.
Glitch in recruitment
Given the recent controversies surrounding the PNP and even future police officers, Durana admitted that the selection process for applicants should also be improved.
He said the recent arrest of a fourth class cadet at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) for alleged attempted rape showed a weakness in the vetting process of the Philippine Public Safety College, which has control over the academy.
Earlier, three cadets involved in alleged oral sex harassment against two plebes were also dismissed from the PNPA.
According to Durana, the PNP is now trying to improve its training for police recruits by making them undergo stricter conditioning at the PNP Special Action Force.
“Dati pagkagaling nila sa National Police Training Institute or NPTI, six months sila doon sa police training, pinapadala sila kaagad sa mga police stations na kung minsan ay di pa masyado silang na-supervise,” he said.
(The previous practice was that after they went through the National Police Training Institute of NPTI, six months of having police training, they are immediately deployed to police stations even if sometimes they were not supervised enough.)
“So ngayon instead of them going there, dapat i-build mo rin yung discipline nila (So now, instead of them going there, you will also build their discipline),” he said.
After all, Durana claimed the PNP was just a recipient of the products of the society, which he said builds the character of the police officers even before they enter the agency.
“Pag dating nila may mga personality na iyan, may mga karakter na iyan, dala na nila iyan. Ang training namin is just to polish (When they come, they already have their own personality, their character, they already carry that. Our training is only meant to polish it),” he said.
“But definitely they have their own personality, they have their own character, they have their own values that they have brought with them from the society that they came from. So hindi talaga blameless ang society (So the society is not really blameless),” he said.
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