MANILA, Philippines – Senator Raffy Tulfo on Tuesday criticized the way officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) handle road incidents, particularly their alleged facilitation of settlements, disdain for the legal arrest procedure, and abuse of authority.
Citing several incidents reported to his office, the neophyte lawmaker pointed out some of his “frustrations in dealing with the PNP” during the organizational meeting of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
“More often than not, iyong mga pulis po natin ay nag-aareglo ng mga nagaganap na aksidente sa kalye. Marami na po ako [alam]. Hindi ko na po mabilang. By the hundreds na, each time na nagkaroon ng aksidente sa kalye, ang ginagawa ng pulis, ang pinapanigan po iyong sino po may pera,” he said.
(More often than not, our police officers settle road accidents by siding with whoever has more money. I know a lot. I’ve lost count. It must have reached hundreds already.)
Tulfo later added: “Maybe we should stop that kind of practice. Iyong mga police po natin, dapat mag-complain, mag-blotter, i-inquest po agad iyong dapat i-inquest. Hindi po pag-aregluhin sila. Ang aregluhan po dapat nasa barangay o nasa korte, hindi po sa mga police station natin.”
(Maybe we should stop that kind of practice. The police should file complaints and blotter reports, and also push for inquest proceedings for those that need to be investigated. They shouldn’t facilitate settlements since that should be done in village offices or in courts, not in our police stations.)
He then noted that the standard operating procedure for conducting arrests are also left unfollowed by some police officers.
“Ang nangyayari ngayon, hinuhuli po iyong suspek o suspek sa tingin nila. Agad-agad. May kasama pang batok,” the senator added.
(Now, the police immediately arrest the suspect or whoever they think is the suspect. They even strike the suspects on the nape.)
Tulfo also claimed that police officers frequently use crimes against persons in authority as a leverage over the civilians they are apprehending.
“Ito po iyong gasgas na ginagamit ng ating pulis para ipakita nila ang kanilang power over the civilian population. Sana po itigil natin iyong mga ganoong klase ng mga ikinakaso ng pulis natin sa mga civilian kasi nga po, nobody will believe you…Hindi kami maniniwala. Sino ba namang civilian ang maglalakas loob [sa] armadong pulis, marami sila versus kami po na unarmed,” he noted.
(This is a worn-out case used by the police to show their power over the civilian population. I hope we stop filing these cases against our civilians because nobody will believe you. Who will believe that an unarmed civilian will fight back against many armed policemen?)
Responding to this, Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who formerly served as the PNP chief, said the key to more transparent police operations is for body-worn cameras to be used by all officers on the field.
“Talagang ang pangit, ordinaryong motorista ang nagsu-suffer sa kata****taduhan ng ibang pulis diyan. Hindi naman lahat ah. Pero ako, meron din natanggap na complaints na ganoon,” Dela Rosa added.
(It really doesn’t look good when an ordinary motorist suffers because of the ill acts of the police. Not all of them, but I’ve also received complaints like this before.)
Newly installed PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., who was also present during the Senate meeting, assured police officers in highly urbanized areas already use body-worn cameras when conducting field operations.
He later outlined his other action points to address the complaints Tulfo lodged against the PNP.
“I will try to look into all the observations that you made mention,” he said. “All our PNP personnel will be reminded from time to time na ayusin iyong kanilang pag-iimbestiga, and huwag ho iyong ang nahihirapan nga, [tulad ng] sabi ng ating Senator Raffy Tulfo, iyong mga mahihirap. We’ll have to deal with that.”
(As Senator Raffy Tulfo mentioned, our PNP personnel will be reminded from time to time to do their investigations right and get rid of any unfairness toward the poor. We’ll have to act on it.)
The country’s top cop also requested the Land Transportation Office to improve vehicle registration to help police identify automobile owners in traffic incidents.