IN his Feb. 5 and 12 columns in Manila Bulletin, former President Fidel V. Ramos once again criticized President Duterte, whom he supported in the 2016 presidential elections.
This time, Ramos commented on Duterte’s public shaming of policemen-scalawags in the wake of reports of police officers who prey on South Korean tourists and the kidnapping and murder of south Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
Ramos, who was chief of the Philippine Constabulary during the Marcos administration before it became the Philippine National Police, said, “There is only one way to begin the cleansing of the ranks of the Philippine National Police and that is the same process we have to undertake in removing the corrupt from any organization the size of the PNP – that means start the internal cleansing at the very top of all government organizations with the heads, commander, chiefs of each agency/unit personally responsible and accountable for what his/her outfit (at whatever level, high or low) does or fails to do. “
He said at the start of his presidency in 1992, he and his secretary of Interior and Local Government Rafael Alunan (who is an avid supporter of Duterte) instituted an early retirement scheme for the PNP which started with 63 names. In the next three years, about 3,000 police personnel were dishonorably discharged or ‘forcibly retired ‘from the PNP,” FVR said.
“Avoid the undue shaming by mass punishments of government personnel in the presence of the public with media coverage,” FVR said.
Psychology and management experts say public shaming has not proven to be an effective form of discipline. One article said “public shaming begins to look like a tool designed not to humanely punish the person but rather to satisfy the crowd.”
Which was what Duterte did last Tuesday in Malacañang before 380 cops, none of them were involved in the reported extortion, kidnapping and killing of South Korean visitors.
An Interaksyon report said neither were they “ninja cops” - those who execute drug pushers and pocket merchandise and cash of the victim.
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa and NCRPO director Oscar Albayalde said the policemen who had to endure Duterte’s tongue-lashing were being disciplined for minor infractions such as habitual tardiness and absenteeism.
Apparently, Duterte didn’t know because all he asked was “Kayo ang ipinadala dito ni Bato? “
The policemen, of course, “Yes, Sir.”
That cued him for his expletive-ridden performance : “Paano, dalawang taon lang sa pulis, gusto kotse kaagad, gusto ng bahay. Ito namang mga gago, na ulol kayo, kaya nga nag-iistambay, nagpapatrol na nandiyan sa mga bar, kaya iyong mga magaganda diyan, gusto ninyo inyo. Eh wala kayong pera, ayan. Ewan ko ilang tao na ang pinatay ninyo na inosente, na walang kamuwang-muwang. Pero hindi ko kayo palusutin, sa totoo lang. Huwag ninyo akong hamunin ng barilan, talagang papatulan ko kayo mga putang ina ninyo.” He said at first, he wanted them to clean the Pasig River which was full of water lilies that blocked the path of the presidential barge that brings him from Malacañang Park in the Otis where he stays to Malacañang Palace.
He wanted the policemen to eat those water lilies as punishment.
“Gusto ko kayong ihulog diyan pütang inang Pasig na iyan. Pero huwag na lang kasi itong Human Rights kung anong nakikita naman sa buhay ng isang taga-gobyerno na gustong disiplinahin kayo. Gusto ko palinisin ko kayo ng … magbalik kayo dito, mag-swimming trunks, linisin ninyo iyong Pasig River. Inumin ninyo kasi madumi, putang ina kayo,” he ranted.
But he said he changed his mind because the water lilies are gone. He said he decided to send them to Basilan: “So prepare to move out. Doon makita mo iyong kagaguhan mo doon. Ikuwentro mo doon Abu Sayyaf pati mga Tausug. Doon kayo. Täng ina ninyo. Buwisit kayo.”
After 10 minutes, he stopped to attend the cabinet meeting but told the policemen to stay put in an intense position and threatened that he will kick those who would relax. “Tumindig kayo diyan. Maghintay kayo. Kausapin ko kayo mamaya. Huwag kayong umalis diyan, iyang ganoong porma na iyan. Putang ina, buhusan ko kayo ng … Kapag may nakita ako nag-relax, sipain kita tingnan mo. Tumindig kayo diyan.””
There was no report of his coming back to the policemen. Maybe he found out he shamed the wrong cops. There was no report of an apology to the poor policemen.
It’s easy to dismiss it as a comedy of errors if only it didn’t involve one’s reputation and livelihood.
We asked FVR about the plan of Duterte to revive the Philippine Constabulary as a solution to the problematic PNP. “It’s big ‘No”, he said explaining that it would be messy and dangerous because the PC has a military component.
“Please allow the Philippine Constabulary to rest in peace – which it has earned honorably,” the former PC chief said.
As the 31st anniversary of the 1986 People Power revolution nears, Ramos found it fitting to quote from the writings of the late National Artist Nick Joaquin:
“Auxiliary to People Power was the veteran Philippine Constabulary, whose finest hour it was…
“Their official home, Camp Crame was the focus of the EDSA defiance. Constabulary troops were on the highway, at the Ortigas junction, in Greenhills, to defend the masses on EDSA from the Marines in Fort Bonifacio, the Army battalions in Tanay, the Air Force in Villamor.
“Those four days of EDSA had the PC capturing the government’s radio and TV facilities. Expeditionary troops to reinforce Camp Crame rushed in from PC commands in Cagayan, Bicolandia and Mindanao. It was the PC who seized and secured the airports in Manila and blocked the approaches to Metro Manila preventing the entry of Marcos-Ver reinforcements.
“And when Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel were sworn in as President and Veep of a restored democratic Republic, it was the PC who ringed the Club Filipino, to ensure the safety of the new government.
Through nine decades, the PC kept the peace in the Philippines pastoral as nobly and heroically as they could. But EDSA was their finest hour.”