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More on PNP cleansing

The internal cleansing of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is undoubtedly the most crucial reform that needs to succeed for the Duterte Administration to succeed in its war against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.

Aside from aggressive counter intelligence directed towards the rouge policemen, it is noteworthy that the PNP is also looking into the recruitment and training of the members of the organization.

As crimes involving policemen in the recent past were mostly committed by Police Officers I and II – the newbies in the national police organization – the PNP leadership really needs to recognize the obvious weakness, if not a problem, in the current recruitment system and training programs.

As far as training is concerned, the current move in Congress to make training of police officers a responsibility of the PNP itself instead of the Philippine Public Safety College is a move towards the right direction.

Indeed, the PNP leadership should have complete control of training as it will eventually be responsible for the performance of police officers.

The qualification standards adopted by the PNP for its recruitment generally make sense.  However, the real value lies of standards lies on how they are concretized.  Some qualification requirements are quantifiable – height and weight requirements are example of this kind.  Some are simply difficult to “measure.”

For a police officer’s job, in particular, the “moral character” of those who will be taken in the organization is extremely important. Those with “bad” character are the ones involved in crime and corruption.

This makes us wonder how the PNP, given its current recruitment system ascertains whether an applicant is of “good moral character” and is thus qualified to join the organization. Having no criminal case conviction will not be enough to measure character.

While the PNP needs to adopt all possible measures to ascertain the “good moral character” of those who will join the organization, the character factor should not be limited to being a recruitment requirement.

Aside from character building interventions that are part of the operational system of the PNP, there should be regular and consistent character tests for PNP personnel during their entire stay in the organization.

After all, there can only be a clean PNP if its personnel are of “good moral character” from the time they join until the time they retire from the organization.