METRO Manila residents felt safer in 2017 although their trust in the police lessened, a National Police Commission (Napolcom) survey revealed.
Public trust and respect for the National Capital Region (NCR) police forces was rated 47.5 percent in 2017, a 3.2-percentage-point decline from 50.7 percent in 2016, amid the “constant negative news" about the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Some policemen have been implicated in anomalies while their supervisors were believed to have tolerated the irregular activities. Some policemen were also reported to be arrogant and abusive.
Generally, however, NCR police were perceived to be more approachable and accessible as perception of public safety went up to 53.5 percent in 2017 from 42.1 percent in 2016 as the quality of the NCR police response and accessibility increased to 57.6 percent compared to 50.2 percent in 2016.
The survey was conducted by the Napolcom on October 30, 2017 and November 2 to 3 and 6 to 10, 2017 among 570 respondents. It covered perception ofpublic safety, public support and cooperation, lifestyle moral and ethics and quality of police response.
Despite the controversy over alleged extrajudicial killings in their turf within the period under review, the Caloocan City Police earned high ratings in public trust and respect, quality of response by the police, perception on the lifestyle, moral and ethics of the police, public safety, crime reporting by the police and public support to the police.
Senior Superintendent Jemar Modequillo, Caloocan City police office chief, was delighted by the result of the survey.
“Iyong mataas na public trust ay morale booster para sa amin matapos ‘yung mga issue sa Caloocan police nitong nakalipas na taon,” he said.
“Patuloy ang reminder namin sa mga batang pulis na sumunod sa tamang proseso. Meron pa rin kasing naliligaw ng landas,” he added.
However, he said he cannot force those who are not convinced to believe but he encouraged them to still help for the betterment of the police.
The entire Caloocan police force was relieved in September 2017 after the killings of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz as well as the illegal search of a house by police officers together with a minor which was caught on closed circuit television (CCTV).
Delos Santos was killed on August 16, during an anti-illegal drugs operation conducted by Caloocan police from the Police Community Precinct 2 in Barangay 160.
Police Officers 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremias Pered and Jerwin Cruz, the policemen involved in the said operation, claimed that Delos Santos engaged them in a shootout when he saw them approaching prompting them to retaliate and shoot him dead.
However, a CCTV footage showed Delos Santos being dragged by two policemen to a dim alley where he was later found dead. A witness also claimed that there was no shootout and that Delos Santos had pleaded for his life.
Forensic pathologists later established that the teenager was kneeling or was in a prone position when shot by the police.
Arnaiz was killed on August 18 by Police Officers 1 Jeffrey Perez and Ricky Arquilita of the Caloocan Police Security Precinct 7.
The policemen said they were responding to a complaint by taxi driver Tomas Bagcal, who reported that Arnaiz held him up along C3 Road.
Police also claimed that Arnaiz engaged them in a gunfight. But Bagcal later revealed that he brought Arnaiz to the police station alive. Forensic experts later testified that Arnaiz was also in a prone position when shot dead.
Meanwhile, a CCTV footage dated September 7 showed armed policemen assigned at the Caloocan police Community Precinct 4 along with a minor and a person with disability entering a house where they took valuables amounting to P30,000.
The owner of the house believed she was implicated in the illegal drugs trade by an apprehended drug suspect who was also seen in a CCTV footage pointing her house to the police. (SunStar Philippines)