Rights group: Mere transfer for PNP bad eggs too light
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday twitted the Philippine National Police for giving erring personnel kid-glove treatment, a criticism that the national police disputed.
Carlos Conde, HRW Asia division researcher, said that policemen accused of negative behavior were punished only with reassignment and anger management training.
Conde was referring to two policemen, including one who was caught on video wildly swinging a rattan stick at an ordinance violator in Mandaluyong City, who were transferred to the besieged Marawi City.
“Typically, such abuses—which are commonplace throughout the country—elicit no response at all from the police hierarchy. But even when action is taken, it pretty much misses the point,” he said in a statement.
Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, PNP spokesperson, however, was quick to clarify that the two policemen were facing administrative charges for their misconduct, and not merely transferred.
“Erring cops do not get ‘kid-glove treatment’ but are subjected to the established disciplinary procedures,” he said in a statement, referring to the investigation of erring policemen by the Internal Affairs Service for administrative or criminal charges.
Conde observed that abusive law enforcers were deployed to more dangerous assignments as an “informal punishment” for violations of police procedure.
“Until the Philippine National Police ensures genuine accountability within its ranks, police abuses will continue unabated,” he said.
Meanwhile, senators are split on the deployment of erring policemen to difficult assignments.
Sen. Francis Escudero saw no problem assigning scalawags to “difficult assignments.” Sen. Gregorio Honasan also defended the policy, saying PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa’s way with police scalawags was “a purely administrative and procedural matter” governed by the law and the police institution’s rules and regulations.
But Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian compared police scalawags to cancer that must be cut off in order to keep the rest of the organization healthy.
“I always believe that if you move a cancer to a different part of the body, it is still cancer. In order to remove cancer, you have to amputate it. It’s the same with scalawags, they must be removed from the force,” he said.
Sen. Bam Aquino urged the PNP to rethink its policy, saying such strategy would further weaken public trust in the police.
“Filipinos deserve an upstanding police force. Delinquent cops should be fired, not just reassigned and sent to Mindanao,” said Aquino.
In Marawi City, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday raised objection to the reassignment of Police Officers 1 Jose Tandog and Chito Enriquez to the war-torn lakeside city.