Should he win the presidential election in 2022, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson vowed on Monday to implement an iron-fisted approach against criminality but in accordance with the rule of law.
Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, said criminals – including abusive policemen involved in criminal activities – should be neutralized due to the threat they pose.
“Against criminals, yes – but in accordance with the rule of law. We will always observe the rule of law,” Lacson – the standard bearer of Partido Reporma – said in an interview on ANC, when asked if he will be “iron-fisted” against criminals if he wins.
He said this will entail disciplining law enforcers so they do not become abusive. When he led the PNP, Lacson – through leadership by example – instilled such discipline in the PNP and booted out abusive policemen, especially the “kotong cops.”
Also, Lacson made clear that the only time law enforcers can kill criminals is in self-defense and in the performance of their duties as law enforcers.
Under a Lacson presidency, he said policemen who engage in criminal practices such as recycling and selling illegal drugs will not be tolerated. He said such practices caused the Duterte administration war on drugs to start off on the wrong foot.
“It started on the wrong foot. If you tolerate something like that it grows bigger and the problem becomes more serious. Dapat ma-nip in the bud make them more answerable (We should nip them in the bud to make them more answerable),” he said.
But Lacson also said it would be unfair to target law enforcers in a “propaganda war” similar to what he and his men endured with the 1995 Kuratong Baleleng case, which was dismissed by no less than the Supreme Court.