Rogue cops

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

I CANNOT think of any country or at any time in recorded human history where there were no rogue cops or wayward enforcers of the law. Some countries have them aplenty, others tolerable and contained to a minimum degree and where punishment was swift. Still, the temptations for material gain are strong and many fell into its pit. All we need to do to see rogue policemen in other countries is to watch action movies.

But as there are rogue ones there are also honest ones. However, I am not going to wager which is more – the rogues or the honest ones – though I am inclined to the latter. Understandably nobody has conducted any census, survey or study on the ratio. Just like the air, we know it is there, we can feel but we cannot see it. And so, it is with rogue policemen until they are dragged into the court and sent to jail or just dismissed for cause.

The present squabbles among the top generals of the Philippine National Police are therefore nothing to be unduly concerned. They are fighting against each other and the outcome is already known. They might not become guests of the state inside the prison, but they already tarnished their reputation, their integrity under doubt that will enter into their service records.

At first President Duterte said that two police generals are involved in the recycling of illegal drugs. While in Russia, he said he would name the two but when he arrived, he changed his mind saying no general is involved. Despite that “exoneration”, he gave the public reason to doubt several generals, among them the Chief of the PNP, Police General Oscar Albayalde.

One top PNP official was shown on television during the Senate hearing wearing an expensive watch estimated to cost $50,000. Nothing needed to be said about that, except that this police officer is so self-conscious and secured that he had the gall to show to the world that with his salary he could buy an expensive watch and get away with it. Imagine what his house, cars and lifestyle must be!

Senator Richard Gordon who is conducting the investigation said that he has enough proof about rogue cops, but he would defer to the President’s judgment.

The senator said that,“I still would like to have General Albayalde come forward and answer questions that need to be answered in order to be fair.” He added that he will not conclude on anything just like that without Albayalde’s answers. He noted that the PNP chief failed to answer why he did not contest when he was placed on floating status after an anti-drug operation in Pampanga in 2013.


A police officer is placed on a “floating status” for an infraction. In the Pampanga case, Albayalde was without assignment for a time. That is akin to a penalty. Indeed, if Albayalde was innocent why did he not challenge the allegations against him? For Senator Gordon that was enough proof of Albayalde’s wrongdoing.

But President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants “clear proof” of Albayalde’s link to illegal drugs. I wonder whether the President was aware of the predicament of his top cop or he just wants Albayalde to retire next month rather than being dismissed which carries the tag of dishonor.

But if the President has already said there is no general involved, then that’s it. But again, he can change his mind as he did many times.

With the top PNP post at stake next month, the lobbying would be intense. However, with that dark cloud cleared, Albayalde may survive and retire with honor but he shall have lost the opportunity to recommend his man at the top of the PNP hierarchy.

At stake is not only the Chief PNP post. The moment Albayalde steps down and several others with him, there will be movements way down the line of its officers’ corps. A reshuffle usually follows and the officer closest to the power center gets a plum job.

However, no matter who gets to the top, the situation will hardly be ideal. The officers are of the same mold.

The Senate spent a lot of time in the investigation about rogue cops engaged in the drug trade, especially in the recycling of confiscated drugs. What happens next? Was that just another circus?