You would think that given seemingly endless news reports of the involvement of certain police personnel in shady activities, including kotong (extortion) and drug trafficking, the public would lose their trust and confidence in the Philippine National Police as an institution.
But the results of the latest Tugon ng Masa Survey conducted by OCTA Research revealed that Filipinos continue to trust the PNP despite the controversies involving the organization.
In the poll conducted in late March, eight out of 10 Filipinos, or 80 percent of respondents nationwide, said they continue to trust the PNP while only five percent said they don’t trust the organization.
Fifteen percent of Filipinos said they are ambivalent over the trustworthiness of the police force.
The police force registered the lowest trust rating in the National Capital Region at 67 percent.
Is that because Metro Manila residents are able to get more news about shenanigans by police scalawags from both traditional and social media?
On the other hand, Visayas and Mindanao respondents showed more trust in the PNP at 89 percent.
In Bicol, respondents showed an overwhelming trust in the PNP with 100 percent of respondents saying they believe in the organization.
In Central Luzon, 50 percent of respondents said they trust the police while 43 percent said they were unsure whether to trust the PNP.
Eight out of 10 respondents nationwide said that they were satisfied with the performance of the PNP, 6 percent said they were dissatisfied, and 15 percent said they were unsure whether to trust the police.
When asked if they saw any improvement in peace and order, 41 percent of respondents said yes, 9 percent said the situation has worsened, while 48 percent said there was no change at all.
The over-all positive image of the PNP among Filipinos will definitely work in favor of the new top cop, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr.
As PNP chief, Acorda has been given clear marching orders by President Marcos Jr.
During the change of command ceremony late last month, the Chief Executive told the police chief: “Make your presence felt in the streets – make them safer. Defend our democratic institutions, our cherished ideals.”
He also instructed the top cop to “protect the people, especially the weak, the vulnerable…always be open to public scrutiny, and practice restraint and maximum tolerance in the face of harsh criticism.”
A tall order, perhaps, for the police chief who retires in December, but realizable if he sets his mind to it and is able to rally the entire institution behind his reform program.