EDITORIAL | Bitter lesson

ALREADY saddled with a rather bad image, the Philippine National Police again found itself in the middle of a controversy when two of its police officers were seen on CCTV footage slapping and spanking three minors who were brought to the barangay hall after they were involved in a riot in Garcia Heights.

This is one action that would have old-timers nodding in tacit agreement. Indeed, on the face of it, if the corporal punishment managed to strike fear into the minors and make them change their ways then the police officers would have done their job. Too often, we’ve heard of police officers and local government executives complain of how the Juvenile Delinquents Law has enabled underage kids into flouting the law with abandon.

But there’s a reason why corporal punishment is already banned in schools. Physical aggression and verbal abuse have been found to trigger an opposite response rather than the one intended. Rather than discipline and respect, it foments shame, anger, and a cycle of abuse for the victim.

Besides, police officers have protocols to follow in arresting minors. The fact that the erring juveniles were already in the custody of the barangay meant that the two cops should only file a report or escort the children to their parents along with a verbal warning. The minors may also be turned over to the City Social Services and Development Office for evaluation on discernment to determine if they will face a court trial or not.

Instead, they took the easy way out.

The two police officers may have thought that they are teaching a lesson in order to set the delinquents toward a straight and narrow path. Sadly, they are the ones learning a bitter lesson on the consequences of overstepping your bounds.


Posted in Opinion