PNP’s open support for senatorial hopeful and why it violates rules

December 13, 2018 - 2:13 PM
Bong Go's tarp in PNP_Interaksyon
Shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte declared that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police should be apolitical, a tarpaulin bearing senatorial candidate Bong Go's face was seen in PNP's Camp Bagong Diwa. (Facebook/Kenneth Phoenix)

A tarpaulin of former presidential aide Bong Go was spotted at the Philippine National Police’s Camp Bagong Diwa despite the police ethics code saying PNP should be apolitical.

A picture of it was uploaded on Facebook by a user who also recalled President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks three months ago on the uniformed government personnel’s stand on politics, particularly candidates.

The chief executive reiterated this to the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP on December 10, Monday during a ceremony at the Scout Ranger Ville in San Miguel, Bulacan.

Duterte said in a speech:

“I would like to remind everybody in government, lalo na ang Armed Forces pati police, do not take sides either for or against my party, huwag kayong makialam. Huwag kayong magkampanya and do not favor any candidate whatsoever. That is the mandate of the Constitution and we will stick by it.”

He also warned that he would have the certain candidate be arrested.

“Ako mismo ang maghila sa iyo. Talian kita sa leeg doon sa gulong, plaiparin ko yung eroplano. T*** i** mo. Huwag kayong mag-ano kasi ayaw ko. Huwag sa panahon ko.”

On the same day, a picture of Go’s tarpaulin in front of PNP’s Camp Bagong Diwa surfaced on social media. He is running as a senator in the midterm elections next year.

No to political patronage 

Two years ago, then-PNP Director for Police Community Relations Wilfredo Franco reminded the police officers to remain apolitical and non-partisan while in service.

He cited the PNP Ethical Doctrine Manual that states all PNP members should provide service to everyone without discrimination and regardless of a political party affiliation.

This is stated under the “PNP’s Stand on Basic Issues” Section, particularly on Section 3.7. It says:

“PNP members shall inhibit themselves from soliciting
political patronage on matters pertaining to assignment, award, training and promotion.”

Then-PNP Southern Luzon Directorate for Integrated Police Operations Federico P. Castro Jr. also restated the particular ethic.

He noted that it is not within the right of a police officer to publicly speak out his mind or perform an act that supports a particular candidate or a political party because it violates the former’s bounden duty to remain apolitical.

Bong Go and his tarps

Go, who is running for the Senate, has been spotted all over the Philippines—at least in tarpaulins.

Even before he filed for his certificate of candidacy (COC) last October, tarpaulins bearing his face and name have been appearing all over the metro and different provinces.

As early as July, reports of tarpaulins, smartphones, T-shirts and even relief goods supporting the former presidential aide have emerged.

Bong Go in a hearing about the frigate deal of the Philippine Navy. (The STAR/Geremy Pintolo)

Go defended it by saying that it was done by his “friends.”

A month before he filed his COC, tarpaulins and health cards with his face and name appeared in the Philippine General Hospital.

Recently, a mayor in Negros Occidental took down a tarpaulin of the senatorial candidate since it violated a city ordinance that required an individual to file a permit from the Office of the City Engineer.

Silay City Mayor Mark Golez said that Go did not file a permit, nor did he pay for the tarpaulin placement.

Under the current rules of the Commission on Elections, candidates cannot be tagged for premature campaigning yet since the official campaign period has not yet started.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said, “There is no limit on election propaganda, whether on television, cable television, radio, newspaper, the Internet or any other medium, by all parties and candidates seeking national and local elective positions.”

“Until the campaign period has officially started, there is nothing that the Comelec can do on premature campaigning,” he added.

The rules would only apply once the campaign period starts on February 12 for candidates seeking national positions and March 29 for local positions. — Featured photo from Kenneth Phoenix via Facebook