Press Release
December 21, 2006


If the government is serious about bringing back order to the streets, it can start by bringing back the basics of police work particularly by deploying more personnel in the field, and strictly observing guidelines on firearms licenses, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.

Lacson, who served as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief from 1999 to 2001, said the policies on firearm control and crime deterrence had already been laid down, but the present government has been lacking in creativeness and imagination in implementing them.

When I was PNP chief, I ordered police personnel to pound the foot patrol beat in tandem with the Marines. That was meant to make the police adopt a smart posture to deter criminals. It worked because crime went down by 70 percent in malls and business establishments, he said.

Aside from that, he said the police gained the needed confidence and posture from their experience with the Marines to send the message to criminals that they are physically fit.

During his watch as PNP chief, Lacson also adopted creative ways to instill discipline in the ranks by imposing a 34-inch-waistline limit and cracking down not only on kotong (extortion) cops but also on police officers playing golf during office hours.

More importantly, the police complied with my orders because they knew I practiced what I preached. That is leadership by example, and there is no substitute for it, he said.

But now, Lacson lamented the present PNP has slackened in patrol work, allowing up to 60 percent of personnel and logistics to stay in provincial, regional or national headquarters. During his time, he said he made sure 85 percent of resources were downloaded to the field.

He added that while he managed to get his men to return carjacked vehicles to their owners when he was PNP chief, there are now widespread reports of policemen again using recovered carjacked vehicles.

Lacson said the PNP issued not more than 600 permits to carry firearms (PTCs) during his watch not because he cracked down on the practice but because the PNP under him merely followed the guidelines.

The rules never changed, they are just not being implemented properly now. These days, you can get licenses and PTCs for firearms under the mango and guava trees at PNP headquarters in Camp Crame. In exchange for paying double or triple the regular fee, you can have fixers procure a license or PTC for you, he said.

Lacson advised PNP chief Oscar Calderon to stick to the basics and properly implement rules on firearms control and beat patrols, mainly by making policemen proud of their badges.

I know Gen. Calderon to be very qualified for the job. Perhaps he needs to motivate his men to take pride in their work, he said.

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