Who Watches the Watchmen?

19 01 2011


Courtesy of Getty Images

When disgruntled former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza of the Manila Police District (MPD) stormed and hijacked a tour bus carrying 25 people, 20 of whom are from Hong Kong on August 23rd of 2010, he set the world’s eyes on the Philippines and the world was about to find out the inadequate handling of the Justice and Legal system that Filipino families have lived through for generations.


On Tuesday, the Department of Interior and local Government (DILG) and National Police Commission (NALPOLCOM) chairman Jesse M. Robredo had been on the job for only 6 months before scandals littered his office with inquiries –


What will the Police Commission do to discipline and guide the department out of a national crisis?  150 dismissed cops became the scapegoat to a larger issue of corruption.


Policeman in Manila tortures a man for stealing

A Youtube video gone viral internationally also showcased the Philippine National Police (PNP) who swore an oath to serve and protect the people but tortured a man for stealing.  The tortured man was whipped and had his genitals pulled by a rope.


From the cases, it was learned that two top DILG officials who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were “not seeing eye-to-eye” and were fighting over the department’s resources and control.


Failure from the government to properly and diligently handle the police crisis prompted several foreign governments to issue a traveling ban to the Philippines.  Worst, the Filipino people were ashamed and alarmed of the national scandals that seemed to make headlines every week.  Filipino confidence in their protectors eroded.


Since then, nearly 800 policemen faced dismissal, almost 700 policemen were forced to undergo retraining of PNP values and ethics, 14 more cops were implicated in rape and kidnapping within the first week of the new year, and the PNP Chief Director Raul Balcalzo was implicated in connection with Jueteng.  If the PNP are the civilian’s watchmen, then who watches the watchmen?


It is no wonder that many Indigenous communities in the Cordillera who have always protected their land, people, and resources through Indigenous practices are wary of PNP outsiders to disrupt the order of peace.  If there are PNP retraining, let this be a serious wake up call.  The police should not be above the law and should also be retrained to answer to the people they serve and the nation they represent.  Since this government and police force is tainted with corruption, graft and theft, civilians and third party watchdogs should be watching over the PNP for any corruption and human rights violations.






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