Wake up ‘Mamang Pulis’!

A friend of mine was having lunch in an eatery when he was introduced to a Manila police officer who had just retired from the service.

What surprised him was that the officer still looked apologetic for what had happened to his colleagues who have become a butt of jokes, if not being despised for the bungled hostage rescue operation that led to the death of eight Hong Kong tourists.

Never mind police captain Rolando Mendoza . He practically lost his marbles due to what he perceived as an injustice. What really infuriated him was that the cops had become imbeciles in the eyes of the public after the embarrassing hostage drama led to a bloodbath in spite of the fact that the people who handled the operation were supposed to be veterans of the so-called Manila’s Finest.  The city mayor was also no less than the perceived tough-looking  no-nonsense retired Manila Police General Alfredo Lim.

“Dati Manila’s Finest kami. Ngayon tinatawag pa kaming Manila’s dumbest,” the retired police officer lamented. Then, he suddenly wept and said, ”nakakahiya.”

Sad to say, the hostage incident eroded the image of the Manila Police, which used to be the pride of the city. Yet looking at it, there is really a problem plaguing the service.

For one,  the indefatigable image of the police had slowly been eroded because several Manila police officers and men had been involved in a series of scandals prior to  the hostage incident, which illustrated just how incompetent the police were in rescuing the Hong Kong tourists held hostage by another police officer.

Instead of just grieving, the men in the service should finally realize that this is another wake-up call to restore the tarnished image of the police force.

It is not only the Manila Police that is being ridiculed. The general public has become wary of the police because of the perception that they couldn’t move unless there is money to fund their operation when it is their duty to help anyone in need.

I can still remember the time when a passenger bus along España hit my son’s car and when he went to the police to complain, he had to wait for hours before an investigation was completed. I was asked if we were filing a complaint because we had to pay for the photographs and the report can only come out after two days unless we do something to speed it up.

There is really something wrong in how the police have been handling complaints whether on traffic offenses or homicide cases. Now we hear of countless stories on how uncooperative some of our lawmen can be, unless they see the prospects of getting some money.

In the not-so-recent past, some people in the service were only being linked to alleged protection racket of some sleazy clubs or gambling joints. But it was offset by the dedication of the countless Manila policemen who worked overtime and dared risk their lives if only to solve a crime

Methinks they can only restore their lost credibility, not just through valiantly doing their job, but in how they would again show to the people that the policeman is always there to be of service to the needy, and not only to the influential people who can hire them either as security people or protectors.

The Manila policeman is supposed to be the most respected among civil servants. It is time for our men in uniform to show that they deserve being known as the “finest” in the  service. Joel Paredes


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