PNP purge of misfits lauded; Senate suspends probe on scalawags in uniform

MANILA-- Senator Paolo Benigno 'Bam' Aquino IV lauded on Monday the decision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to temporarily focus operations from anti-illegal campaign to 'internal cleansing' following abduction and killing of a Korean businessman.

"This is a step in the right direction for the PNP as it works on regaining the public trust after several controversial incidents involving bad elements within the organization," Aquino said in a press statement.

Upon the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte, PNP chief Director General Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa ordered to temporarily stopped 'Oplan Tokhang' and 'Project Double Barrel' after series of criminal offenses involving policemen.

The most recent was the expose on the abduction and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo who was strangled to death right inside the PNP's headquarters at the Camp Crame in October last year.

"With this move, we're hoping that scalawags who continue to taint the image of the law enforcement in the country will be eradicated from the PNP," Aquino said.

For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson said his Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs will suspend the Senate inquiry into the so-called 'tokhang for ransom' involving rogue policemen.

He said it would be wise that the Senate wait and see how the major changes in the anti-drug war will work out.

"In view of the massive restructuring of the war against drugs to focus on rogue cops as ordered by the President, it is my view that the Senate wait and see how this latest development plays out. Having said that, I am suspending the hearings on the 'tokhang for ransom' issue," Lacson said.

"After all, the President has taken a positive action on the matter and I feel that the committee on public order and dangerous drugs has partially achieved one of the purposes of its legislative inquiry. It is now time to attend to the pertinent legislative measures referred to the committee," Lacson noted.

The next hearing of the committee had initially been scheduled for Thursday, February 2.

At last week's Senate committee hearing, Lacson had closed-circuit television footage played showing rogue policemen planting drugs in an office that they eventually raided.

Lacson said he had the video played to stress the need for internal cleansing in the PNP, the agency he headed from 1999 to 2001.

For now, Lacson said he will focus on pieces of legislation that may at least minimize abuses by police personnel in conducting anti-crime operations.

These include bills on the training of police personnel as well as the strengthening of the PNP's Internal Affairs Service.

Meanwhile, Lacson reiterated the need for systemic measures to prevent abuses by law enforcers, pointing out that crime may not be eradicated but could be minimized.

"I have said before that it is impossible to eradicate crime, but quite doable to greatly minimize it. As such, there should be systemic moves to deter, if not prevent, abuses by those tasked to stop criminality," he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency