Alfred Dalizon


April 16, 2024 Alfred P. Dalizon 119 views

I’M very sure that PNP chief General Rommel Marbil is both happy and sad with the arrest of a member of the Highway Patrol Group inside their office in Cotabato City for extortion on Friday last week.

Happy because another cop gone astray has been apprehended and sad because the arrest came amid his belief that the word ‘internal cleansing’ has really given a negative image to the 232,000-strong force that he wants to push it harder with a more positive description however.

The incident came amid a vow by the country’s 30th PNP chief that their campaign against misfits and scalawags will be continuing without let-up although this time, he wants to give a new meaning to the word ‘internal cleansing’

“Sa internal cleansing, we always look at our pulis na masama pero lahat kami nagbabago. Ang kelangan lang is direction. Kung nawala ka, then you’re out, there’s no forgiveness,” said Gen. Marbil, who headed the PNP-HPG from November 19, 2021 to August 8, 2022 without any hitches.

When he recently spoke to the press, the top cop emphasized it is now time to replace the phrase ‘internal cleansing’ with a more positive description. “I think it’s more of a different term kasi ang internal cleansing, it connotes a different kind, negative agad. Ang nakikita lang eh madumi pero magagaling ang mga pulis natin,” he said.

Barely two weeks after he said those words, members of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group arrested two non-commissioned officers of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit-Bangsamoro Administrative Office in an operation conducted right inside their office in Cotabato City.

PNP-IMEG director Brigadier Gen. Warren De Leon said the RHPU-BAR operatives were the subject of an extortion complaint from a local resident. The complainant claimed that he has become a ‘regular target’ of the group that he was forced to seek the assistance of the IMEG.

The PNP-IMEG director said that their investigation showed that the complainant has been flagged down a number of times by the RHPU-BAR personnel for supposed to be violations of the law. However, he was released without any charges on all occasions after reportedly paying the accused.

The last straw came when the complainant said that the RHPU-BAR officers demanded P50,000 anew from him in exchange for the release of his car which they have impounded again. The sting was thus set leading to the arrest of one of the accused as well as one of his colleagues who fired his gun at members of the PNP Special Action Force who have barged into their office located at Rosary Heights 1 in Pedro Colina Hill in Cotabato City.

Recovered during the entrapment operation were two marked P1,000 bills and P18,000 in cash. Two HPG-BAR operatives arrested during the operation were stripped of their PNP-issued weapons.

PNP-HPG director Brig. Gen. Alan Nazarro, a member of PNP Academy Class 1991 who has been the director of the unit since June 26, 2023 told me he has continuously reminded his men to refrain from engaging in any form of illegal activities long before the RHPU-BAR incident.

“The Regional Chief of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit Bangsamoro Administrative Region was already made to explain as to the incident despite of repeated reminders to all our personnel not to engage in any form or illegal activities,” the HPG director said.

At present, PNP-IMEG investigators are still in the process of completing their investigation into the matter. The accused HPG personnel will also be facing criminal and administrative charges, said Brig. Gen. De Leon who reminded the public to report the presence of policemen demanding money supposedly in exchange for the non-filing of criminal charges against them.

Gen. Marbil had said all PNP Regional and District Directors and the rest must really lead by example and show to everybody they are fine leaders worthy of emulation by others.

“We have to lead by example, yun ang priority natin. Alam naman nila kung ano ang tama o mali. So if you are not capable, then we will remove you. Pero ayaw naman naming magkamali ang mga tao naming kaya we will help them,” the PNP chief said.

He particularly ordered his officials to ensure effective supervision of their respective commanders on the ground since leadership by good example discourages even the lowest ranking policemen to commit wrongdoings or be involved in illegal activities.

The top cop also maintained that the PNP is really serious in cleansing out its ranks of misfits and scalawags, or anybody who commits a mistake although the program is not limited to the punitive aspect but also focuses on the importance of preventing members of the force from committing irregularities.