By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr., affirmed his support for the Philippine National Police (PNP) in his first-ever speech in front of the police force carrying the mandate of maintaining peace and order throughout the country.
In his speech that was delivered during the PNP’s flag-raising ceremony on Monday (July 11) morning at Camp Crame, Quezon City, Abalos praised his predecessor, former DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, and the entire PNP workforce, for their accomplishments and sacrifices in the past few years, especially in aiding the government’s pandemic response.
“Maraming nagkasakit na kapulisan at mayroon din namang mga namatay. Your sacrifices include your own lives at nakita po ng mga mamamayan natin iyon. Hindi natin nakikita ang kalaban and yet you’re always there [Many of our policemen got sick and some even died. Your sacrifices include your own lives and our citizens saw it. We can’t see the enemy and yet you’re always there],” Abalos said.
Abalos assured the 225,000-strong police force that he will always support them, as long as they fulfilled their duties and responsibilities in accordance with the rule of law.
“Marami tayong magiging kalaban sa mga susunod na taon. And if there’s one thing na hinihingi ko sa inyo ay ang pagmamahal sa bayan na inyo nang ipinakita. At asahan po ninyo, nasa likod niyo ako. Kung kailangan niyo ako, lahat ng manggugulo sa inyo, ‘wag kayong mag-alala, basta nasa legal lahat ipagtatangol ko kayo. Ako ang kakampi niyo [We will face so many enemies in the years to come. And if there’s one thing that I will ask you, please continue to love our country which you have already shown. You can count on me that I will always back you up. If you need me, if there are people who will trouble you, don’t worry, for as long as it’s legal, I will defend you. I am your ally],” he emphasized.
The former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chief and Mandaluyong City mayor reiterated that the war on drugs will continue under his watch, this time with a greater focus on building up strong cases against illegal drug suspects to ensure that no cases will be dismissed and they will be spending the rest of their lives behind bars.
He also cited practices in the City of Mandaluyong that can be injected and emulated to improve the Department’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, such as the hiring of personnel solely dedicated to accompanying law enforcers in anti-illegal drug operations to stand as witnesses in court and to augment the building up of cases against drug suspects.
“These are the kind of practices na gagawin natin at hihingin ko sa mga gobernador, sa mga mayor ng Pilipinas [These are the kind of practices that we must do and I will ask the governors and mayors in the Philippines to do adapt it],” Abalos said.
The newly-installed DILG Secretary also assured the PNP of adequate legal support should they face trumped-up cases while on the line of duty.
He also highlighted the importance of addressing cybercrimes, especially with the advent of technology and Filipinos’ heavy reliance on social media. Cybercrimes, especially cyberpornography, have been on the rise following the surge in the use of the Internet due to the pandemic. (ai/mtvn)