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Opinion

Don’t preach religion

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

The newly installed chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., thinks that religion can change one of the world’s most corrupt police forces.

Hello, religious boy! You should have been a priest or a minister rather than a policeman.

One can’t be a softie in an organization that is full of bullies and hoods. Kakainin ka ng buhay ng mga buwaya (you’ll be eaten alive by crocodiles).

As the Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, a leader would rather be feared than loved since fear is the most effective tool for leaders.

Don’t preach religion in hell or, as the poet Alexander Pope said, “where angels fear to tread.”

The country needs a leader in the PNP like Guillermo Lorenzo “Guilor” Eleazar, who ruled the organization with an iron hand.

Eleazar was quick to punish abusive cops but was also equally quick to reward policemen who did good.

*      *      *

In 2014, the PNP came out with the manual for ethical doctrine (and all that crap) for its members.

It was followed more in the breach than in compliance.

The PNP doctrine goes:

“All members of the Philippine National Police shall abide, adhere to and internalize the provisions of this Ethical Doctrine. Towards this end, a truly professionalized and dedicated law enforcer shall be developed in promoting peace and order. Ensuring public safety and enhancing community participation guided in principle that a public office is a public trust and that all public servants must at all times be accountable to the people. They shall serve with utmost responsibility, integrity, morality, loyalty and efficiency with due respect to human rights and dignity as hallmark of a democratic society. They shall at all times support and uphold the Constitution, bear faithful allegiance to the legitimate government, respect the duly constituted authority and be loyal to the police service (underscoring mine – RTT).

In my days in the now defunct Isumbong mo kay Tulfo public service program, I was witness to the arrogance and brutality of many policemen towards citizens they were supposed to serve and protect.

Of ten complaints received from the public by Isumbong, for example, six concerned abusive cops.

When we at Isumbong followed up cases we referred to the authorities, we found that most of the complaints were never acted upon or just withered in the vine, so to speak.

A case in point was a policeman who shot dead a fellow customer in a karaoke joint in Pasig. The case was pending in court and in a PNP administrative body for years. The policeman died of cancer 15 years after the complaint was filed against him.

*      *      *

“Historical distortions” aside, Maid in Malacañang might yet become a blockbuster.

People are flocking to the movie mostly out of curiosity.

Bad publicity is still publicity, as movie writers and columnists would say.

Critics of the movie about the last 72 hours of the Marcos family in Malacañang should have considered the exaggerated scenes as, well, plain entertainment.

There were plenty of exaggerations in the Australian television film A Dangerous Life, shown all over the world in 1988, two years after the EDSA Revolution. Audiences lapped up the movie as “historical.”

The story revolved around the Marcos rule and the assassination of former Sen. Benigno Aquino that led to a huge crowd blocking a portion of Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare in February 1986, and the eventual exile of the Marcoses to Hawaii.

And yet there was not a whimper of protest over A Dangerous Life’s historical distortions, to borrow the term from today’s critics of Maid in Malacañang.

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

*      *      *

Bad press for Maid in Malacañang piqued the public’s curiosity.

Had critics left well enough alone, the movie would just have passed unnoticed.

The scene where Corazon C. Aquino played mahjong with some nuns in a convent in Cebu where she sought refuge during the tense days of People Power in Manila was made tongue in cheek.

The analogy would be the late columnist Louie Beltran’s narrative that then President Cory Aquino hid under her bed while Malacañang was under attack by rebel soldiers during the 1987 coup attempt.

Anyway, the convent scene would be repeat – correctly, this time – during the term of Ms. Aquino, when the country’s first woman president played mahjong with her amigas after office hours in Malacañang.

Cory observed office hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., after which she would leave her duties as chief of state to her subordinates.

*      *      *

Actor and TV host Vhong Navarro will have to stay in jail while the case of rape filed against him is on trial.

This, after the Court of Appeals rebuffed a Department of Justice resolution dismissing the rape case filed against him by fashion model Deniece Cornejo in 2014.

The criminal has yet to be filed in court. Rape is a non-bailable offense.

The story about Navarro forcing herself on Cornejo was fodder for tabloids in 2014. Public opinion was split right down the middle. Some didn’t believe the actor-TV host was capable of committing the heinous crime, others took the side of the complainant.

After the appellate court’s ruling, the public perception now is that Navarro did force himself on Cornejo at her condominium unit at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

*      *      *

In my own experience, people who wear their religion like a badge or who always invoke God in their everyday conversation should be suspect.

Those who display their “goodness” remind me of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Most of them are hypocrites.

Many con artists defraud their victims of hard-earned money by invoking the name of the Almighty.

PNP

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