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Settling for the Shortcut

The recent call of DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos for the resignation of 955 Officers of the Philippine National Police, supposedly “to make a fresh start and cleanse their ranks,” is undoubtedly a way of evading a more transparent investigation into the involvement of the police in illegal drugs. Such a call was heeded and upheld by no less than the President of the Republic, causing an upheaval in the PNP. Rather than achieving the purpose it is meant to achieve, what it does is to in fact perpetuate the system of “shortcuts” that has been the culture in the PNP, which has led to violations of due process committed during the Duterte administration. In all indications, the DILG has knowledge of the narco police involved. Yet, instead of going after them, Secretary Abalos chose to demand the courtesy resignation of top police officials.

This brings us to the question of how, indeed, we are to go about reforming the PNP. Like any other institution instilling reforms among its ranks, the first step is always an honest-to-goodness assessment of its culture and systems. And the process is always key to such a transformation. Police corruption whether on the streets or on the level of organizational leadership represents an organizational weakness in the PNP that needs to be addressed through more comprehensive approaches that promote integrity, and eliminate structures within the system encouraging corruption.

Shortcuts have no place in the system if we are genuinely earnest in cleansing the PNP.


“The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch their leaders’ actions. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.”

– General Colin Powell


“...Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”



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