Ridding the streets of “kotong” – where jeepney drivers lose some P300 a day to crooked cops – will be one of the first priorities under the presidency of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson. And that’s a promise.
Lacson said he had done this when he headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, when he rid the police force not only of mulcting cops but the kotong culture.
“Ito pwede kong ipangako – ang kotong sa kalsada mawawala (This I can promise: kotong in the streets will disappear),” he said at a sectoral forum with bus operators.
He said that under his watch as Chief PNP, he led by example and did not allow corruption, much less extortion, among his men.
Before that, he said traders and dealers would even give their drivers an extra P1,000 as “panlagay sa highway (grease money for the road).”
Lacson said his “no-take policy” reached a point that policemen would even refuse offers of money from drivers who they would flag down for traffic violations.
“Umabot sa punto na ayaw tumanggap ang pulis (It came to a point the policemen would refuse money from drivers),” he said.
Lacson, who is running for President under Partido Reporma, recalled how his late father Buenaventura would come home tired and stressed, after being victimized by “kotong” cops. This would influence him to stop the kotong culture in the police force.
His stopping of the kotong culture in the PNP, as well as other reforms, earned the PNP – and himself as its chief – high approval ratings from the public, as well as their trust.