They may be considered a handful in an institution that counts more than 220,000 personnel.
But even if only 3,000 are believed to have violated internal rules and the law, they can damage the reputation of the entire institution.
That’s the rationale behind the move of the current leadership of the Philippine National Police to investigate several thousands of cops said to be misfits or scalawags to determine if they are really involved in illegal activities.
The erring police officers will have to undergo an adjudication process where allegations of wrongdoing will have to be validated by intelligence units.
The most common illegal activities of police officers are extortion and involvement in the illegal drug trade.
New PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. has ordered intensified intelligence monitoring and legal offensives against misfits within their ranks.
“The country needs a police force that can serve and protect the citizenry”
This is a highly commendable move, particularly since recent news reports are saying that the Department of Interior and Local Government as the supervising agency of the PNP has recommended to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. the dismissal of two police generals and two colonels for alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
If even four senior police officials are reported to have taken part in the illegal drug trade, then Gen. Acorda has taken the right step in issuing an order to keep close tabs on police personnel suspected of corruption and criminal activities.
The PNP has a vital role to play in maintaining law and order throughout the country.
The bedrock of our democratic system is the rule of law.
It has to deal firmly with both organized crime and street crime because these erode the people’s faith and confidence in their government.
Crucial to this effort is the active support of communities that it is mandated to serve and protect.
At the same time, the PNP leadership must maintain the highest levels of integrity and professionalism within the organization.
This means imposing the appropriate sanctions on those who commit abuses or become involved in criminal activities, while giving due recognition to those who consistently perform well in law enforcement.
The country needs a police force that can serve and protect the citizenry. The PNP should render service with compassion, performance with integrity, and law enforcement with vision.