Editorial: No one is above the law

Editorial Cartoon by Joshua Cabrera

THE Philippine National Police is mandated to protect and serve the citizens of this country.

In doing so, its members have the moral obligation to abide by laws that they have sworn to uphold whether on or off duty. They are, in no way, exempt from any liability if they are caught breaking them.

A police officer found guilty of transgressions has no excuse because he’s supposed to know the difference between what is right and wrong.

Romil Gelogo of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 filed criminal charges and administrative cases against outgoing Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña over what happened outside the Camp Sotero Cabahug on Gorordo Ave. at dawn last May 12.

Gelogo accused the mayor of carnapping and robbery after Osmeña seized his motorcycle, wristwatch and cellular phone during the encounter.

He charged Osmeña with usurpation of official function, usurpation of authority, robbery, slander, grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and oppression.

Gelogo was leaving the camp and was on his way home when he was accosted by Osmeña.

The mayor, for his part, said he stopped the police officer because the latter was wearing slippers. Some people may think this frivolous, but unfortunately for Gelogo, the law is on Osmeña’s side.

Not only is it illegal to wear slippers while driving a motorcycle, it is also against the law to drive a vehicle without a license or to go out on the streets without the vehicle’s registration papers. Both of which Gelogo was found to be without. Gelogo, to his credit, never denied the allegations.

Police Regional Office 7 Director Debold Sinas has his back because he thought Gelogo had been mistreated. The police official also slammed the mayor for the incident, which, Sinas said, had affected police morale.

And yet an ordinary motorist who is caught without a license or driving a vehicle without registration papers faces the full brunt of the law. As he should. After all, the guilty cannot claim ignorance of what is deemed to be common knowledge.

And yet, Sinas wants the public to overlook these important facts because, according to him, he felt sorry for Gelogo, who, it should be pointed out, should have known better considering he is a patrolman.


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