Salary raise may not change rogue cops, Napolcom says

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2018 11:45 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2019 06:09 PM

A fuming President Rodrigo Roa Duterte vents his frustration on the police officers who are facing administrative charges after they were presented before the President at Malacañang on February 7, 2017. Simeon Celi, Jr., Malacanang Photo/file

A salary increase may not change rogue cops who commit crimes, a National Police Commission (Napolcom) official said Friday.

Under Joint Resolution No. 1, a Police Officer 1 (PO1) will now receive P29,668, a 100 percent increase from the previous P14, 834 monthly basic pay.

While some see the salary increase as a means to stop police officers from engaging in illegal activities, Napolcom Vice-Chairman Atty. Rogelio Casurao said it would take more than a salary increase to lessen, if not eliminate, police "scalawags." 

“Sa akin yung direct effect nito sa isang pulis, ay yung nga dating hindi nabibili ng pulis, nabibili na niya ngayon. Kasi mas malaki na ang take-home pay niya? Pero I will not easily agree na dating maliit sweldo niya at 'di siya mabait ngayon babait na siya. It remains to be seen. Ang kagandahan lang nitong administrasyon natin natugunan ang mumunting gusto ng mga pulis,” he said.

“Bigyan mo man ng milyon yan na sweldo eh prone [to] commit mischief yan, he will remain the same,” he added. 

To date, the Philippine National Police is composed of 181,562 uniformed personnel and 11,677 non-uniformed personnel.

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Problem with PO1s

Those with rank of Police Officer 1 (PO1), which number to around 75,550, account for almost half of the entire police force.

PNP Internal Affairs Service data from 2015-2017 showed that 70 to 80 percent of those who were charged with administrative cases were police officers with ranks of PO1 to PO3. 

In 2015, 717 police officers were recommended penalty for resolved administrative cases. PO1s, PO2s, and PO3s dominated the list with 180, 145, and 217 police officers, respectively.

In 2016, penalty of resolved administrative cases totaled 464. Almost half of the offenders were 142 PO1s. 

In 2017, service recommended penalty of resolved administrative cases totaled 1,056. Again, the top three offenders were PO1s (336), PO2 (229), and PO3s (222).

Napolcom data for 2016 showed police officers with pending cases totaled to 3,910 with 1,021 PO1 offenders, 784 PO2 offenders, and 686 PO3 offenders.

Casurao said it is no surprise that most of the offenders were PO1s because they are the ones in direct contact with the communities. 

“One practical reason why most of those involved in administrative infractions in being in conflict with the law. Kasi they are the ones patrolling the streets. Sila talaga ang nai-involve sa mga conflict because that is where there's actual contact with the community,” he said. 

Casurao noted that since becoming a police officer is now considered as professionalized service, anyone with a bachelor’s degree can be admitted to the PNP. 

“Ang dami ngayon na gustong mag-pulis. If you notice, a lot of professionals like nurses, like dentists, like lawyers they would like to join the police service by way of lateral entry. You will be surprised. Hindi na ganon ang imahe ng pulis, pag everything is lost mag-pulis ka na lang. Not used to be that way,” Casurao explained. 

Casurao said there is something wrong with the recruitment process. 

“Sa recruitment pa lang, may depekto ka na eh. Simple questions lang sa neighborhood, may idea ka na kung anong klaseng tao itong tatanggapin mo,” he said.

'Training compromised'

Casurao added that the training is compromised and aspiring police officers are already grafted into the faulty system.

“Kung susundin mo ang training modules talaga maganda eh. Time-tested na yan eh. Ang problema, hindi ino-observe ang each step sa training module. Marami dyan nagsho-shortcut, for a few material negotiation with their bosses,” he said. 

Casurao said another factor why new recruits turn into bad cops is that they are mentored by high-ranking officers who are also corrupt. 

“Kaya’t napakamalas mo kung ikaw ay trainee at na-assign ka doon sa isang scalawag na higher rank mo at maging bisor mo. Kasi pag naturuan ka ng hindi tama, that’s the start of your wrong education," he said.

"Pero pag natapat ka naman sa isang matinong bisor, iyan naman ang bonus mo dahil you will learn and acquire the right values in policing, either way."

Casurao said recruitment and training should be implemented well. 

“Kasi kahit anong beautiful rules and regulations i-design mo, kung ang implementation ay dysfunctional wala ring mangyayari eh. So it really needs a lot of monitoring, na lahat ng mga policies, especially on recruitment, are observed. Tapos tinitignan mo yung career promotion nila ay fair and square para you eliminate the dissension,” he said. 

Casurao added that there is no other remedy to revamp the PNP as an organization other than to ensure that all policies on recruitment, training, and implementation of laws are followed to the spirit. 

“Pag nakikita fair ang treatment mo, sa merit and promotion, there is no favoritism, there is no corruption in the implementation of all existing laws, people will have a strong belief in your institution… And if you believe in the institution, there is no reason for you to be a scalawag, to turn scalawag kasi trusted mo yung institution,” he said.