FINALLY, President Duterte is treating the Philippine National Police (PNP) as a big part of the problem (of drugs, criminality and corruption) and not of the solution. The President started his war against drugs using the PNP, with its extremely compromised reputation, as the lead agency. Hence it came as no surprise that the results have been mainly unremarkable, just a lot of obscure Juan’s killed but some big shots merely shamed and no substantial reduction in drug volume.

By not prioritizing the overhaul of the PNP and by trusting them offhand with the task of fighting drug lords from whom many in the force get protection money, the President gave rogue cops the opportunity to continue with their illegal activities using, among others, “tokhang” and “buy-bust” operations to, it would seem now, kidnap or even kill potential victims and informers.

Now that General “Bato” de la Rosa has been tasked exclusively with reforming the PNP maybe the PNP will be rid of these rogue cops. But I said maybe because in the past one major reason the PNP has only gotten from bad to worse was the practice of simply relieving erring cops of their duties and/or transferring them to another area or post.

If this practice is allowed to continue the PNP will never be rid of rogue cops. (General “Bato” just let off Angeles City cops involved in the kidnapping of Koreans with a dressing-down and some push-ups). It is imperative that rogue cops are indicted, tried, convicted and, for the obvious reason that they are peace officers, punished for their crimes more heavily than civilian violators of the law.

Before, I thought the expression “hayahay pa’s pulis” only referred to their free bus/jeepney rides and free gas and meal allowance they routinely ask and get from victims otherwise they would not go after suspects. Now they’re also “hayahay” because they can kill and kidnap their victims and get away with what amounts to a slap on the wrist like being relieved of duties, transferred, dressed down and made to do push-ups.

Now that the fight against drugs is in the hands of PDEA maybe and only maybe the war can make significant headway. Again I said maybe because the PDEA has its share of scalawags and, by its own admission, needs internal cleansing. So does the NBI which does not exactly have an unsullied reputation as an incorrupt crime-busting organization.

The PNP is finally recognized as part of the problem of drugs, criminality and corruption and not as part of the solution. But it still remains to be seen if Duterte and “Bato” will bring down the sword of Damocles on rogue cops and not continue letting them off with relief or transfer or, worse still, a dress-down and some push-ups.