EGALITARIAN| Who protects what?

THE KIAN del los Santos incident came out like a breach in a big dam. Emotions and sentiments came on-rushing and it has been unstoppable since. Some corners are quick to point fingers on the current administration and its policy on the drug war. But can we absolutely blame the police? The whole PNP cannot be blamed for the mistake of one or two officers. It cannot be the sin of Juan if Pedro, a younger brother commits one. True, there is command responsibility, however, let us not forget accountability. Accountability is individual choice, responsibility is organizational.

The responsibility of the whole PNP is to ensure that there is peace and security in the whole country where Filipinos can work, live and do business. So far, businesses anywhere are doing well; the attractiveness of the country improves. The macro fundamentals are stable, the quarterly GDP growth rate is increasing, though peso has weakened but the BSP assures that the country maintains huge foreign reserves.

Flipping through pages of the newspapers, both local and national, presents news feature than many years back. Before, the victims are helpless, today, the criminals are. Then this Kian’s case.

Last January the same fiasco happened where a Korean was nabbed and was murdered in the hallowed ground of the PNP, at Camp Crame. The brazenness of the criminals all I thought can only be possible in a movie. The whole PNP was affected. The morale of the force went down. What restored the confidence in the organization is the quick and firm response of the organization in cleansing its own ranks.

The way we expect people to be turned out to be a powerful precursor of whom will they become in the future. In management this is known as Pygmalion effect where higher expectations lead to increase performance. Social expectations upped the ante of police duties.

The police are expected to be around in almost all facets of society’s life, be it celebration or disaster. During festivals, they are on full alert to thwart any criminal intent. While we celebrate Christmas and New Year; the police are on red alert and can barely grab food and water while on patrol.

People expect police to be earning better than any other public servants. Some think that joining the force is an economic decision and not a commitment to profession.

The galatea effect is the power of self-expectations. Given society’s expectations, their superiors’, their relatives and families, their friends, the police may thread on some trade-off. With all expectations and more activities, the policemen need to double their efforts.

To meet the productivity targets, they have to do more than their capacity for a day. They barely sleep, and when they get sick, they cannot file a leave except when it is life threatening. Then they go to their homes to realize that bills and tuition fees need to be settled. They have pressing problem at the station, they have pressing problem at homes.

The PNP is much like any organization though they implement stricter rules on command and responsibility. The mistake of one police is the mistake of the commanding officer. That is their culture, but to us, ordinary and lay people need not use the same barometer. Else, who can we trust in the rank? Who can we turn to? There is an old maxim “who guard the guards?” which prescribe the thinking of who excesses and abuses of the powerful? However, if we all make blames, who will protect the protector?”

They also need us; they need us to trust them that they can secure our communities. They need us to trust them of their integrity, a trust that they can deliver results. But they should be reminded. They have to prove that they worth trusting. A day without result contributes to decaying of trust. Time is of essence. No excuses.

There is a principle in management science called Law of Triviality. The most attention is given to small things. Kian’s case is never a small case, in fact, law enforcement agencies are working round the clock to get details for prosecution. The trivial part here is that the incident never represents the whole force. And much like any organization, the PNP has to improve given the current circumstances.

Posted in Opinion