An internal investigation into Cebu police’s ranks in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that Cebu’s law enforcement agencies were filled with scalawags who are drug addicts is a knee jerk reaction that sadly won’t go anywhere other than to make it appear that the Police Regional Office is serious in cleaning house.
“Ang pulis ninyo diri sa Cebu, puro addict. Halos tanan. Hasta ang ilang mga opisyal. Hasta ang inyong PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), maski taas og rango, mao pay distributor (Your police here in Cebu are addicts. Almost all, including their officials, are into drugs. Your PDEA here as well; even those holding high positions are themselves the distributors of illegal drugs),” he told local officials at a Cebu City hotel.
The President’s remarks dovetail into a speech he previously made in which he supposedly warned bad eggs in the police force not to bother surrendering lest he would deal with them personally.
His remarks would surely cast a pall of gloom over the families of Baby “Earl” Rallos and Von Rian Tecson, a high-ranking official and officer of the PDEA regional office who were killed in Cebu City on July 27 and in Carcar City last Aug. 8, respectively.
The President’s remarks would also cast doubts on the validity of any investigation on the two incidents as the public especially his followers would associate their deaths to illegal drug involvement even if they were not named directly.
Whether coincidental or not, President Duterte naming Talisay City as a hotbed of illegal drug activities came on the same day that an Oplan Greyhound at the Talisay City jail yielded a contraband of illegal drugs that were stashed inside a matchbox attached to the ceiling of the cells.
It also didn’t help that the Cebu police had yet to arrest Cebu businessman Peter Lim whose alleged drug links didn’t prevent him from easily avoiding detection and arrest following a court order.
If anything, the President’s message is seen to cushion his administration’s failure not only to arrest and build a case against Lim but also to shut down the illegal drug trade for good despite the relentless war that resulted in a rising body count.
Even without the President saying it, public perception of bad eggs in the police remains constant but so is their belief that there are good, committed men and women in uniform who continue to soldier on despite the odds and the easy temptation to go rogue.
These officers should be supported and the PNP hierarchy through the Police Regional Office should be careful not to weed them out along with the truly corrupt and unrepentant lest there are no more law enforcers to protect us from the drug lords and the criminals.
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