Leave the police service or face the consequences of your action.
This is the message of Department of the Interior and Local Government OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año to ninja cops as he urges them to resign before it is too late.
“Habang may panahon pa, umalis na kayo sa serbisyo at talikuran ninyo na ang maling gawain ninyo. You cannot escape the long arm of the law,” says Año.
“Ninja cops” is the term used to refer to policemen or police officers who recycle and sell seized drugs back into the streets.
The DILG Chief also gives another option to ninja cops: to mend their ways by reporting to their police chiefs to confess their involvement.
After evaluation and assessment, he says, appropriate courses of action shall be applied on those who will surface and face the music.
He assures that ninja policemen will undergo due process once they show up or surrender to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Año says that while the DILG-PNP leadership affirms that ninja cops are a disgrace to the whole PNP organization, they still recognize their rights and they will be given a chance to prove their innocence under the internal administrative processes of the PNP.
“The police organization strictly adheres to the rule of law and the respect for human rights and dignity. We therefore ensure that each erring policeman will be given a day in court,” he says.
Earlier, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed concerns over President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s offer of a P5-million bounty for each slain ninja cop.
According to the CHR, while said cops must be removed from the service, their lives are priceless too and should not be equated to any amount.
Assessing recruitment process
The DILG Chief says that because of the issue about ninja cops, the DILG-PNP leadership is now assessing its recruitment and hiring procedures considering that most of those found to be involved in illegal drugs are neophyte cops.
Records from the PNP show that sixty-five percent of police personnel who were dismissed or penalized have ranks ranging from PO1 to PO3.
“We need to look into our hiring process in order to find out if there are lapses or if there are some procedures that we may have missed out or that need to be improved,” he says.
At the same time, Año says the PNP should strive to inculcate good moral values and practices to police personnel so that they will be constantly reminded of their sworn duty to serve and protect.
On the other hand, he says that the President’s pronouncement against ninja cops should serve as a deterrent for policemen who are doing illegal activities to mend their ways.
“Ito na ang panahon para sa mga pulis na naliligaw ng landas na magbago dahil ubos na ang pasensya ng Presidente,” he adds.
According to Año, the PNP will continue to weed out rotten eggs from its ranks as part of its internal cleansing program.
Since 2016, more than 6,000 police commissioned and non-commissioned officers including non-uniformed personnel were either dismissed from service, demoted, and suspended.
Included also in the said figure were cases of police officers who experienced forfeited salaries, reprimand, restriction, and withholding of privileges as part of the PNP internal cleansing campaign.
Two ninja cops neutralized
Meanwhile, Año commends the PNP for the neutralization of two ninja cops in a drug buy bust operation in Zamboanga City barely 24 hours after the President offered the bounty.
“The police are duty-bound to serve and protect the interest of the masses, and not to enrich themselves by doing illegal activities such as peddling illegal drugs. We cannot have someone in our midst serving two masters. It’s either you are for peace and order, or you are on the other side of the fence,” he says.
“My commendations to the good cops of Zamboanga City for nailing the bad cops who taint the name and image of our organization,” he adds.
The two cops, PO3 Ronald Bernardo and PO2 Maria Oliver Olaso, both of station 9 of the city, were killed when they shot it out with their colleagues during an operation. The two cops are known to recycle ‘shabu’ (crystal meth) that they seize from operations as they don’t declare the actual volume of seized drugs.