New PNP chief: It's essential for police to regain public trust

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Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez, the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), issued a warning on Thursday (July 16) at the turnover ceremony held at Camp Crame:

"Sa buong kapulisan [For the entire police force], let me make this very clear: Do your job well and you will be rewarded. If you are threatened, I will be there for you. Walang iwanan [Nobody gets left behind]. But betray your oath and violate the law, sisiguraduhin ko na may kalalagyan kayo [I'll make sure you get what you deserve]."

Marquez then called for an immediate review of the PNP's disciplinary mechanism and to focus on holding everyone accountable, especially supervisors.

Like other honest police officers who sincerely want to serve the people, he said he found it annoying that few dishonest cops had tarnished the image of the PNP.

So that whenever a member of the force would get accused of extortion, or some other crime, people would say: "Palibhasa pulis [That's because he's a police officer]."

"Nakakapikon ang paulit-ulit na pagkakasangkot ng mga kapulisan sa ilegal na gawain," he said.

[Translation: "It's sickening to repeatedly hear members of the police force involved in illegal activities."]

So it's crucial, he said, for the PNP to regain public trust.

The PNP should go back to the basics, he said. That would mean having police officers patrol the streets.

More police presence would not only act as a deterrent to crime but would also allow them to doing to get to know neighborhoods better the communities they're supposed to serve.

Among the priorities the police should tackle is illegal drugs.

"A nationwide survey conducted some years back states that the police should give utmost priority in addressing the issue on illegal drugs," he said. "And sadly this problem continues to wreak havoc on Filipino families today. It is time we address this vigorously now."

Marquez is the 20th chief of the PNP since it was created in 1991, a result of a merging of the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Pollice.

He is the first fulltime chief since Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima was supended over corruption allegations in 2014.

Dep. Dir. Gen. Leonardo Espina, Purisima's replacement, served merely as officer-in-charge.

Marquez graduated as member of the Class of 1982 from the Philippine Military Academy.

Before assuming the top PNP post, he was chief of the Directorate of Operations (DO), Before that, he was director of the Ilocos Regional Police Office. And before that, he was chief of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office.

Recalling how he was born to a poor family in Maragondo, Cavite, he thanked the country's leaders for their trust and confidence they showed in praising his appointment.

He became emotional as he thanked his wife and daughters and his parent for their support.

Outgoing PNP chief Espina was also emotional in his speech.

"I have lived the most fulfilling life in service to God, country, and the Filipino people," he said.

President Benigno Aquino III thanked both generals for their crime prevention efforts.

He said he chose Marquez for his accomplishments, the latest of which was his leading the preparations for the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines last January.