MANILA (UPDATED) - President Benigno Aquino III has delivered stinging criticism of an unnamed police official whom he said had refused to accept a new assignment and vented his dismay over his appointment in the mass media.
Speaking at the Philippine National Police's "Araw ng Parangal sa Kapulisan", Aquino said public servants cannot choose their assignments and should instead put the public good ahead of their own personal interest.
"This person was not getting a bad position. At sabihin na natin nagpakita siya ng gilas, which he should be rewarded and acknowledged. But at the same time, pumasok sa kaisipan ko: 'Aba, OK to, goes out on media, says this and that, keeps quiet then goes out again on a media tour. He does the service a disservice. Pinahamak niya yung institusyon na pagka tagal-tagal ng buhay niya at pinaglingkuran niya," the President said.
The unnamed police official whom the President referred to is believed to be Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa, former head of Task Force Tugis.
The PNP leadership earlier announced Capa's transfer to Cebu less than a week after the task force captured fugitive property developer Delfin Lee. Vice-President Jejomar Binay said influential persons tried to have Lee released but Capa stood by the arrest.
Capa has been vocal in media interviews about his disappointment at the transfer, saying he is ripe for promotion.
The President, however, said senior police officials should strive to emulate the selflessness of their junior counterparts, some of whom he had conferred awards on prior to his speech.
"Bakit kaya may contrast between a rank-and-file from the cadets to the policewoman in [Mall of Asia] to the lieutenant in Tacloban, and everybody else whom we acknowledge today? Sa kanila, klarong-klaro ang misyon ko - pinasukan ko itong boluntaryo. May obligasyon ako dun sa komunidad, ginawa ko. Simpleng-simple. Hindi ho ata dapat yung attitude na habang mababa, iniintindi ang kapwa. Habang tumataas, iniintindi ang sarili," he said.
Malacanang, through Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, neither confirmed nor denied that the President was referring to Capa.
Asked if there will be any sanction against Capa, Coloma said the issue is up to the PNP chief.
“Siguro ay ganoon ang naging pahayag ng Pangulo dahil awarding rites iyon sa PNP at gusto niyang magpahiwatig ng kanyang saloobin. The President chose that occasion in order to be able to convey to the men and women of the PNP certain views regarding proper decorum that should be observed by them. So he took that occasion to cite those events. Those of you that were in Camp Castaneda yesterday know already about the first one. Iyon namang sa pangalawa ay in context lang naman natin ma-appreciate ‘yan. I don’t think there is any need to labor the point any further. There are certain rules of decorum and conduct and we will just let the Chief PNP do what is needed under those rules," he said.
Aquino pointed out the differences between new graduates and junior police officers who delivered on their sworn duties, and some senior officers whose attitude changed after going up the ranks.
"Syempre ho, ano, ang ating mamamayan, kapag tiningnan ang kapulisan, sana ganoon ang makikita parating role model. ‘Pag merong police diyan, sigurado tayong panatag ang kalooban natin. And let me contrast it, ano. When we talk of all of these people who have been getting the awards, most of them are in the junior ranks, what about in the senior ranks?" he said.
"So babalik ako dito, matanong ko lang, bakit kaya may contrast at ito ang pumasok sa kaisipan ko? Bakit kaya may contrast between our rank-and-file, from the cadets, to the policewomen in MOA, to the lieutenant in Tacloban, and everybody else who we have acknowledged today? Sa kanila klarong-klaro ang misyon ko: Pinasukan ko ito, boluntaryo; may obligasyon ako sa komunidad, ginawa ko—simpleng-simple."
Aquino also paid tribute to the women police officers who responded to Mall of Asia robbery over the weekend.
"Nagkaroon ng holdup or attempted holdup the other day, sino ang unang nag-responde? Apat na policewomen. ‘Yung apat, with drawn firearms, engaged the robbers in a shootout. [They] did not think twice about takbo kaya tayo dito o hintayin na nating tumigil ‘yung kaguluhan diyan bago lumapit. Lumapit, pinagtanggol ang ating mamamayan.“
Aquino also lauded a policewoman who responded to the needs of super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban.
Absent from the list of awardees was Capa, who was reassigned to Region 7 right after Lee's arrest, fueling a word war with PNP Direct General Alan Purisima.
For the arrest of a wanted person, three members of Task Force Tugis that worked on Lee got awards: Senior Insp. Rafael Dispo Lero, Senior Police Officer 1 Dante Cabalquinto, and Police Officer 3 Eugene Amoyo.
Among the other awardees this year are 10 from the Special Action Force, 9 from the Police Regional Office 9, one was awarded from PRO 7, 7 were awarded from PPO 8, one from PRO 12, one from the police intelligence group, and 3 from the police anti-illegal drugs group. - with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News