Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Speech during the Turnover Command in the Philippine National Police - Oct. 1, 2007

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
October 01, 2007— Republic of the Philippines
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Maraming salamat, Kalihim Puno, sa iyong pagpakilala. Kagalang-galang na immediate past PNP Director General Oscar Calderon, honorable new Chief PNP incoming Director General Avelino Razon, Jr. or Sonny Razon as we all call him, Secretary Ebdane and the other appointive officials and former chiefs PNP, Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps, Senator Zubiri and the other elective officials of the Philippine government, supporters of the Philippine National Police who are all here today, friends and family of General Calderon, friends and family of Sonny Razon, ladies and gentlemen.

Una sa lahat, batiin natin lahat ang immediate past chief PNP si Police Director General Oscar Calderon ng isang maligayang kaarawan. . Pinupugay natin siya sa tatlumpu’t walong taong matatag na serbisyo. Sabi nga niya, 34 years, sabi nung iba 34 years and 8 months pero isama natin iyong 4 years sa PMA that’s 39 years, congratulations for a job well done. Si Oca pati na rin si Sonny, inirekomenda ng Police Search Committee a long, long time ago. Si Oca at si Sonny bilang kasunod niya mula pa noong magre-retire si General Aglipay. Alam na natin noon kung ano ang succession upang masigurado ang katatagan ng paglipat ng liderato at iwasan ang paninira ng mga nagkakaribal sa pinakamataas na puwesto ng PNP. Kaya maganda ang paglipat kay Sonny. Naalala ko nga at naalala rin ni General Calderon noong siya ay unang umupo. Inatasan natin sa kanya na manungkulan siya noong isang taon na mamuno sa pakikibaka sa mga rebeldeng komunista gamit ang puwersa ng kapulisan, imbestigasyon at hukuman. At gayon din sa mga sindikato ng krimen na sangkot sa kidnapping, bank robbery, droga, smuggling, jueteng – lalo na ang jueteng ay talagang bilin ng mga Obispo iyon at pang-araw-araw na krimen. At sabi rin ni Oca noon ang ibig niyang gawing kanyang pamana ay ang pabahay.

And so, if we remember what he said and what I said and where we are today, I guess we can all say congratulations, Oca, for a job well done.

Iyong inatas ko kay General Calderon noon, iyon din ang inaatas ko sa kanyang karapat-dapat na kasunod our new Chief PNP, Sonny Razon. But in addition, especially because Sonny was the head of Task Force Usig, I also instruct General Razon to continue to be on top of Task Force Usig except that now he is Chief PNP his perspective must be wider now. It must not only be on police action but the entire criminal justice system. The first report I want to receive from him is an update on arrest, convictions and imprisonment of those responsible for the killings of political activist and journalist. Kung ang pamana ni Oca Calderon ay housing, inaasahan kong ang magiging pamana ni Sonny Razon ay human rights.

We deplore any and all killings of political activist and journalist. I have met personally with the journalism community and the same with the human rights activist, we share their outrage. And to stop the killings we are following the recommendations of our own Melo Commission to establish separate court and that has been done to expedite prosecutions we need to do that and we need a good investigative capability of the PNP to build a good case(?), expand victim assistance for doing that, increase funding for more investigators we have done that. And we have also told our uniformed services and I am glad that Sonny has repeated it, that if there are rogue elements, they must be brought to justice. Our nation has an unfortunate history of political violence by those from the left and the right and we hope to break that cycle, once and for all.

No one should have to die fighting for speaking out for their political beliefs. But let it also be noted that terrorists and the Abu Sayyaf and armed communists are a threat to the sovereignty of the nation and must be checked once and for all. The Abu Sayyaf stand in the way of peace of bringing peace, stability and order to Southern Philippines. As such we have decided we must wipe them out once and for all. They are a menace to peace and a beacon for international thugs who wish to join their ranks. The communist rebels have spent years of a low level threat. It’s time for their disruption and violation of human rights to be put to rest so that the nation can move ahead. They impede the progress and development of a number of rural areas. They are responsible for a wide range of human right abuses. If we are to become a first world country we have to put a stop to their ideological nonsense and their criminal act, once and for all.

Kasama ng pagpigil sa rebelyon ang amnestiya at kabuhayan sa mga rebeldeng ibig bumalik sa panig ng batas. Gusto nating mabilis na itanim ang matibay na kapayapaan at seguridad sa mga rehiyon sa pangunguna ng mga pinunong lokal at relihiyoso at katulong ang buong gobyerno ng bansa kasama na doon ang ating kapulisan.

We guarantee the leftist insurgents willing to turn their guns into plow shares and respect the rule of law another opportunity to regain normal life under Proclamation 1377. The world looks upon the Philippines to continue to reinforce our economic gains with the solid foundation of law and order.

And so, Sonny Razon, should see to it that the war against criminality and terrorism is sustained at the grass root level. And that evil is kept at bay in the streets and in the countryside. I like what you said, that you want every citizen to be only within a certain distance of the nearest policeman. The Human Security Act has helped Oca Calderon in the fight against terrorism. For he has a very (unclear) a chance to test it out and have you not noticed nobody has ever filed any case of abuse against the police for abusing the Human Security Act. The proof of the pudding is in their eating, we have a Human Security Act, we have an anti-terrorism law but we have not use it to violate human rights. Instead, the new law enhances the safety and domestic security of our country by giving us more legal power to prosecute those who commit any act of terror on our people. Our message is clear, if you’re armed and kill civilians you will be prosecuted; if you are a communist terrorist, a religious terrorist or even a rogue element of our own police or military we will stop you. We are empowered by the Human Security Act to crush the terrorist movement in the country and to transform our nation’s response to political violence ensuring that civil right and social justice are available to all Filipinos not just a privilege few

Sonny Razon must strive as ever to keep clean the good name of the police force, to good performance and organizational discipline within the rank. I like the concept of “Mamang Pulis.” People’s perception of government is in large partly dictated by what they experience on a daily basis. And on a daily basis people experience life with policemen, if they suffer indifference or abuse in the hands of law enforcers they’re likely to harbor negative views of the whole government. But if our policemen response fast to contingencies and are honest and fair, then our citizenry will embrace them, as well as, the entire government as their protectors. Why it is important that the PNP maintains close link with citizen’s groups and I am glad that the citizen’s groups are here, the local government units and I’m glad we have a number of them here and other stakeholders in peace and order.

We ask the new PNP Chief to continue the transformation program of the PNP. So, I like that passing on of the torch ceremony into a better organization that lies at the foundation of our criminal justice system. And we ask him to build the PNP into a bulwark of economic development, social justice and political stability. The PNP is a partner in our war against poverty because we cannot deliver basic social services to the needy and the marginalized sectors without the mantle of peace and order. Law and order lay the ground for economic and social programs to be implemented nationwide deep into the grass roots and without any delay. We cannot have economic advancement and social progress without respect for the rule of law.

Render defective by the constant presence of policemen on the beat by the trust and faith of the community and by the sterling conduct of law enforcer.

The new chief PNP has its new job cut out for him as he himself said, by virtue of his qualifications and experience. And I hope that he will strive to make a difference during his watch. The Filipino people and the world wait upon you. Sonny, I wish you all the best and May God Almighty be with you every step of the way as you lead the PNP towards the bold start under a new leadership. And so, I guess using your own words, congratulation, good luck to you, Mamang Pulis Sonny.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Macapagal-Arroyo, Gloria. 2007. "Speech of President Arroyo during the Turnover Command in the Philippine National Police." The Official Gazette, Oct. 1, 2007.