(Updated 11:59 p.m.) Alliances with community leaders and civil society will be crucial in the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) desire to “clean-up the ranks" and “return pride and honor" to the 140,000-strong police force, newly-installed PNP chief Nicanor Bartolome committed on Friday.
In his marching orders to Bartolome during the change of command rites at Camp Crame, President Benigno Aquino III said he wants police officers who have the courage to arrest and jail PNP personnel who dishonor their uniform and abuse their authority.
“Nais nating lumaganap sa ating buong kapulisan ang isang sistema kung saan kapag may kabaro kang nangongotong at inaabuso ang katungkulan, hindi ka magdadalawang-isip na hulihin siya, dahil hindi mo hahayaang dungisan niya ang mayamang tradisyon ng PNP," the President said.
Aquino urged Bartolome to make cleaning up the PNP and fighting crime a crusade, a “personal advocacy."
Bartolome has about 18 months, until he retires on March 16, 2013, to make good on his pledge to clean-up the national police force, “fire erring personnel" and “place the right people in the right positions."
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Bartolome said the relationship of local police with the communities they serve will be “formidable" and during his watch, police officers in every barangay “will be the conduit between the community and their unit."
Aquino pledged to support Bartolome’s with efforts to raise their capability and improve their equipment.
“Ginagawa natin ang mga ito para sa bawat miyembro ng kapulisan — heneral ka man na may ilang taon na lamang bago magretiro; inspektor ka man sa presinto na tumatanggap ng araw-araw na mga kaso sa inyong mga blotter; o PO1 na unang araw sa duty at makintab pa ang tsapa," Aquino said.
“(N)ais nating maramdaman ng bawat Pilipinong pulis ang panibagong kumpiyansa at dangal tuwing isinusuot nila ang kanilang bughaw na uniporme, at ikinakabit ang kanilang tsapa sa kanilang dibdib," the President added.
Bartolome is the 17th PNP chief who promised to give the country a new national police. Prior to assuming the top post, he was provincial director of his home province, Tarlac (2005 – 2007), PNP spokesman (1999 – 2001 and 2007 – 2009).
He was named regional director of the PNP Southern Tagalog Region and then was made PNP National Capital Region director in the aftermath of the August 23 Manila hostage crisis.
Bartolome was PNP-NCR director when an improvised explosive device detonated last January in Makati on a bus plying the EDSA route.
After graduating from the PMA Class of 1980, he did 11 years of combat duty in Mindanao where he received various service awards. — With a report by Marlon Anthony Tonson/LBG/ELR/VS, GMA News