The ideal and the every day face PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 10 July 2017 13:18

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

“Our job is to serve  people, not brutalize them.” The line  comes from a novel with a police plot that I am currently reading. It is said by a policewoman who is the central character in the novel whose plot is about the difficulties she experiences because she is a truthful person.

The novel’s plot has me engrossed because of the number of negative stories about our own Philippine police in the last few weeks. Consider the reversal of the charge against Marcos and cohorts in the killing of Albuera Mayor Espinosa – from murder to a less serious charge. The video showing a policeman from Mandaluyong in MM hitting a man with a rattan cane several times while another policeman simply watches on the sides. The victim’s fault?  He was found drinking on the street with another man. What made the story  even worse is that instead of being suspended, at the least, or dismissed at the worst, the two policemen are sent to Marawi as a punishment. It would seem to me that with the situation in Marawi being what  it is we need disciplined policemen there, not the kind that the two represent.

As I read the novel - I still have a few chapters left to read – I realize two things: (1) corruption and lack of discipline  are not unique to the Philippine police force and (2) it takes moral strength to stay “good” when in the police force.

My readers will likely say that this   is not a “eureka” moment but I say this to be fair to both sides. The line from the novel  I quoted above expresses an idealism that may seem  juvenile but it is good that we keep this expectation. People want to rise to high expectations and our perception of the police as being this kind of public servant should be a constant reminder to them about how they should conduct themselves in carrying out their duties. The public on the other hand should not simply close their eyes ( and minds?) to how the police should conduct themselves. What should be our attitude to policemen who simply stand in the shade when traffic is all snarled, or when some drivers are obviously not driving according to the rules? What should we do about it?

And perhaps, the more important thought to reflect on is what we can  do for those members of the police force who want to stay “good”.

Negative reinforcement  is something that is used in psychology to eliminate or diminish  unwanted behavior. This can mean, in the case of the police force, suspension or demotion in rank or dismissal after due process has been undertaken. The procedures for this should be part and parcel of the administrative aspect in the police force and should be rigorously followed. The recent actions in the cases of  Marcos and cohorts and that of the Mandaluyong cops belie this.