In clear response to the string of criminal conduct that various elements in the Philippine National Police have been involved with in recent weeks, the good Director General Raul Bacalzo launched so-called ‘three-strike policy’ except that it is a most stupid course of action considering that the offenses invariably range from rape, extortion, killing, to crimes of violent nature.
Sad to say, this policy is most inappropriate by a simple characterization of the acts of grave misconduct that police officers have figured in lately. Contrary to claim, this is hardly the right approach to give the doctrine of ‘command responsibility’ its higher meaning nor would it have given stronger muscle to the idea of accountability in its officer corps.
In the first place, when Bacalzo speaks of a ‘three strike policy’, what exactly does he mean by his official warning? Well then, let us show what makes this policy grossly stupid.
In truth, when we say ‘three strike policy’, we actually mean that the PNP leadership condones serious and grave misconduct from its rank and file to be committed. It makes each and every personnel or officer of the PNP a ‘repeat offender’ for practically any class of crimes up to the 3rd time. In other words, the PNP that is supposed to serve and protect the citizens has licensed its membership to commit acts of grave misconduct or crimes of some violent nature – three times, or three different acts – before they can be held responsible or accountable.
Theoretically, this is a very dangerous game. The whole strength of the PNP consists of some 135,000 members – each one armed and carries the badge of authority. With a three strike policy, it means simply that the PNP, has in effect, committed one or all of these acts – condone criminality, countenance criminality, and tolerate criminality. What else can such a ‘three-strike law’ do? We are not in California, are we?
This new policy of the PNP rests on a mistake. It allows members of the PNP to commit any serious or violent felony or act and to continue to commit them before they are held accountable. In the level of possibility, it can be assumed that where the third strike policy is applied, the third felony could be very serious or violent for erring cops molded from our sociological given.
This kind of stupid, albeit irrational policy, from the top honcho in the hierarchy is symptomatic of the deep institutional decay that the organization has already find itself in. From where I stand, if there is only one day more left to save the PNP, to wait for two more days would have already wreaked serious havoc than one can ever imagine. Mr. Bacalzo, punish the erring cop right at first offense, please.