The conviction of a former policeman for the brutal killing of two teenagers in 2017, along with the resulting law transferring the training of police recruits to the Philippine National Police (PNP), should help spell the end for “drug-related” torture and murder – and other abuses involving scalawags in uniform.
Former Senator and PNP chief Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson stressed this as he noted the grim lesson from the conviction of former Police Officer 1 Jeffrey Perez should reinforce the improved training for police recruits as provided by Republic Act 11279 – which he sponsored after investigating the case in the Senate.
“A stern lesson from the past has been served to our future policemen. The conviction of ex-PO1 Perez, along with the improved training of police recruits as provided by RA 11279, should drive home the message that there is no room for unfit and erring police officers, a.k.a. ICU Cops – the Inept, Corrupt and Undisciplined,” said Lacson.
“Having crossed paths with these ICU Cops as Chief PNP from 1999 to 2001, I exhort the PNP leadership to continue eviscerating the police ranks via a thorough training as well as sustained internal cleansing efforts, until no misfit is left,” he added.
Earlier, Caloocan Judge Rodrigo Pascua Jr. found Perez guilty for violating the Anti-Torture Act of 2019 and planting of evidence in the killing of Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, 14, in Rizal in August 2017.
Perez was also ordered to pay to the victims’ heirs P1 million in moral damages and P1 million in exemplary damages.
Court records showed Perez and his co-accused, the late former PO1 Ricky Arquilita, claimed Arnaiz was killed in a shootout in Caloocan City, supposedly while fleeing after allegedly trying to rob a taxi. De Guzman’s body was found on Sept. 5, 2017 in a creek in Kinabayuhan in Gapan City with several stab wounds and with packing tape wrapped around his head.
Perez was dismissed from the police service in October 2018 while the case against Arquilita was junked after his death in April 2019.
After probing the case, Lacson in 2018 sponsored Senate Bill 1898 seeking to transfer the training of police recruits from the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) to the Philippine National Police (PNP), after noting the PPSC’s quality of training had deteriorated, resulting in its graduates being involved in crimes and other irregularities including bribery, kidnapping, drug use and planting of evidence.
The bill became law in 2019 as Republic Act 11279 – a development that Lacson said should give the PNP the needed tool to build a physically and morally competent police force while beefing up its internal cleansing efforts.
“While we were conducting hearings on the abuses by scalawags in uniform, I felt the pain of having the name of the institution I once served with pride, dignity, and honor being dragged through the mire. Yet amid these anomalies that spark public outrage, we managed to see clearly and address the lapses in the recruitment and education of our police officers – phases that make up the formative stage of becoming a law enforcer,” Lacson said.
“Ultimately, our law enforcers must realize that they are mandated to uphold the law, not violate it,” he added.