The Philippine National Police (PNP) must faithfully adopt and live by its cardinal principle that the entire institution will be solidly mobilized in case anyone of them is harmed or attacked, especially in the performance of their duty to serve and protect the public.
The brutal killing of Senior Police Officer 1 Armando Garcia a few days ago is another case that will be included in the statistics of police officers slain by criminals. We have already lost count of the number of lives lost among the ranks of our policemen, who were murdered by outlaws who still roam our streets.
There is neither outrage nor significant alarm to protest and condemn this crime committed against those who are mandated to combat criminality. Sadly, our society seems to have resigned itself to the reality that this is a normal risk that goes with the difficult job of an underpaid and hardly appreciated uniformed civil servant.
Challenge to the PNP leadership
The PNP as an institution must forge a fundamental doctrine that will be truly embraced by each of its members, wherein mutual protection shall be assured, particularly when the extreme scenario of being killed in the performance of duty unfortunately happens. This means that the PNP will do everything legal at its disposal to pursue the killer(s).
This assurance of justice will probably render a higher level of inspiration to the policemen who encounter extreme versions of danger everyday so that ordinary citizens can enjoy their normal and peaceful lives. More important, lawless elements will get the strong message and will probably think a hundred times before doing something that would harm a police officer for fear of just retaliation.
This can be a call for the new PNP Chief, Director General Ricardo Marquez, who is well known for his impressive record in the field of operations. A serious no-nonsense officer, who immediately directed his people to be significantly visible in the community, Marquez gives us concrete signs to expect the institution to improve. Therefore, the risk that police officers will inevitably be exposed to increases.
Maybe the new chief can formally create a unit in the Criminal Investigation and Detection Bureau (CIDG) that will be concerned only with the job of tracking down criminals who have the gumption to attack or kill police officers. The performance of this special unit will be measured on the basis of cases that are resolved. It will relentlessly make the criminals accountable.
The top leadership must also formulate a system of appropriately rewarding the members of PNP. Many of them still suffer from serious financial constraints.
The ranks must be assured
Incumbent to the job of our police officers is the danger that could hardly be avoided. Still fresh on our collective memory is the fate of the SAF 44 heroes.
Hence, similar to the creed of the Marines that “nobody will be left behind,” the PNP must inculcate on each member that the organization will ensure that until the end, any tragedy that may happen to anyone of them will be appropriately handled by those who are left behind to continue serving the country.
Ultimately, the internal solidarity amongst the members of the PNP will contribute to improving its capability to win the war against lawlessness and criminality.