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OPINION POLICE ISSUES

Police service: performing duties while “one foot is in the grave”


There is prestige for being a policeman. It is quite an honor to be one of the men who serve the country. As such, many aspire to become one too. Because aside from the honor and prestige of being in the service, the pay and allowances are also considered good compared to other jobs in the country.

There are risks involved

However, a lot of risks are also involved even in the normal daily life of a police officer. That is already a well-known fact actually. Today you are alive, tomorrow is another story.

Yesterday your buddy was here laughing with you, tomorrow you’re mourning his loss. Knock on the wood that it won’t happen to any of us, yet the very nature of a policeman’s job sort of predicts that.

That is why the phrase “one foot is already in the grave” has become a common expression among the ranks. It’s as if the policemen already knew about it before even entering the police organization but still continued in the name of public service.


police tactical movement
Police practice four-man assault tactical movement

A strong bond that connects

Every now and then, you heard of stories about some police officers killed in action or while in the performance of duty. You may not know them personally, but as a law enforcement officer, you will surely feel bad about it.

That is so because there is an invisible yet powerful bond that connects each member of the force. From the time you set your foot at the training school, up to the grave, that connection will surely remain strong.

A part of the police officers’ job description is to protect the lives of the people. As a consequence, policemen offered or will not hesitate to offer their own lives to fulfill that sworn duty – To Serve and Protect, says the PNP motto.

Unnecessary but heroic

Just a few months ago last year, my classmate died when the suspect reportedly shoot it out with the team he was leading. Being the leader that he was, he came in first to try to subdue the suspect but came to face the hail of bullet from the suspect’s gun.

The suspect was being charged with multiple murders at that time and is a wanted man. The suspect also died in that shootout. Regardless of the facts surrounding my classmate’s death, and without prejudice to the investigation conducted, for me his death, while unnecessary, is a heroic one nonetheless.

But more importantly, it is symbolic, in that it highlights the risks of being a police officer and demonstrative of the fact that policemen’s lives are but expendable.

Expendable Lives

The Gallant 44 who lost their lives in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in the Island of Mindanao are from the elite unit of the PNP. It was unfortunate that we lost a lot on that fateful day.

As a result, the Mamasapano incident opened a lot of issues not only on strategic leadership, interagency organizational relationship, but also and more importantly, politics.

While we can’t see any real good arising from that incident, the only thing perhaps that we can consider good are the lessons learned that can be shared with the organization to avoid a repeat of this incident.

But again, what happened there proves my point – that in the grand scheme of things, our policemen are expendable. It is mission first before lives.

Public perception

There is a varying perception of the police in the Philippines. In the recent SWS survey, 66 percent of Filipinos believe that drug personalities have decreased in their communities.

This is reflective of the effective job that the police did. This is considering that it was the PNP who served in the frontline in the fight against criminality.

However, the PNP leadership likewise acknowledges that police officers who are involved in criminal activities affect the general public perception.

That is why the PNP strengthened its internal cleansing efforts to weed out these outcasts. We need to condemn them for bringing shame to our uniform and service.

Police perform election duty at an NPA influenced barangay

Regardless of what perception the public may have about us, we’ll continue doing what our sworn duty mandates us to do.

Because in the end, public perception is irrelevant.

What matters most is that we are able to deliver our sworn duty even if it means our “other foot is already in the grave”.

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Marinong Pulis
This blog is an attempt by the author to create an alter-ego that is not bound by rank, hierarchy or politics. One that does not represent his personal character but rather shall remain as an identity purely found online.
http://www.angmarinongpulis.com

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