Briones: No to scalawag cops

Publio J. Briones III
·3 min read

I HAVE been vocal about my support for the current administration’s war against illegal drugs since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.

Let me make it clear.

It’s the operation against the scourge of society that I back. Although it continues to be a problem, at least the illegal drug trade is not as open as it was during the time of Duterte’s predecessor.

And because members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are in the front line of this war, I’ve also been vocal about my support for the organization.

As I have said before, if I have to choose between a cop and a drug suspect, I will choose the former.

However, and it is a big HOWEVER, I hold our men and women in blue to a higher standard.

Because they wear the uniform. Because they have the badge. Because they carry the gun. Because they have sworn to protect and to serve us, the public.

I will not tolerate police officers who commit even the smallest infraction.

Which is why I continue to call attention to cops who park their vehicles on sidewalks or in front of no parking signs. How can they expect us, the public, to respect them if they can’t even abide by a simple traffic law?

At any rate, it is unfair to blame the whole organization for the mistakes of a few. Because I do believe that the majority of our cops are in it because they truly want to help make the community a better place to live in.

They did not join so they could go on a power trip. Well, at least, those who were brought up with the proper values. Or those who are not insecure. They did not choose this profession so they could take advantage of others.

Then again, there are people like Executive MSgt. Julius Medura Obañana, head of the Carmen Police Station’s intelligence station, who was caught trying to extort money from the mother of a detainee on Friday, March 12, 2021.

According to Maj. Alejandro Batobalonos, Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group 7 chief, Obañana did not include on the list of evidence confiscated during the detainee’s arrest the latter’s motorcycle. When the mother tried to claim it, Obañana refused to release it unless she gave him P3,000.

Apparently, he didn’t expect the mother to report him to authorities. He just assumed that she would be cowed into submission and shell out the cash.

But things have changed in the last five years.

The PNP has been actively going after erring police officers as part of its internal cleansing campaign. There’s even a big sign in front of the Police Regional Office 7 headquarters on Osmeña Blvd. urging the public to report scalawag cops.

Batobalonos was right.

It was a downright shame for Obañana to throw away his 24-year police career for such a small amount. And he deserves to bear the full brunt of the law.