Should TV be allowed to portray PNP officers in a degrading manner?

I read an interesting tweet from top-blogger Riassa Robles a few days ago. She was referring to an article published by the Inquirer: PNP asks MTRCB: Stop ‘improper use’ of cop’s uniform in movies, on TV”.  The PNP protested a scene that had a policeman in uniform stripping at a bridal shower.

Here was the brief conversation between Raissa and me:

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We received the normal cynical response to the PNP’s desire for a good reputation, because the PNP’s own forces sometimes seem to work against that reputation by behaving badly.

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But I would ask the question, what do we WANT our police to be? And if it is “respected”, ought we not listen to what they have to say? Why should we criticize them for WANTING to be respected, even if they have undisciplined people in their ranks? We’ll never let them improve, or help them to do so?

The subject here is control of television content. Raissa and I have different views on it. She is strictly “free speech” in public media whereas I am for “free responsible speech” that excludes obscenity, gratuitous violence, and material that undermines the well-being of Filipino citizens. In other words, I am a content moralist.

My views are shaped by a short stint of work that I did with CBS Television in the United States. My Masters’ thesis was based on research that I did for the “Broadcast Standards” department at the network. That department reviewed all shows for acceptability of content.

You can also see the difference in principle between Raissa and me in our respective blogs. Raissa allows almost all contributions, even if insulting or obscene, whereas I work actively to moderate discussions and exclude dialogue that is insulting, obscene or trollish.

APEC-protesta mb dot com

Police control protesters at APEC [Photo credit: Manila Bulletin]

Yes, I am aware that there is a downside of control, where autocratic states are inclined to shape the knowledge of their citizens to conform to their goals.

One man’s morality is another man’s brainwashing.

But we have already stepped onto the slippery slope of control when we ban explicit language or explicit sex on TV so that when Junior comes home from school and flips on the tube, he does not come across Mayor Duterte fondling one of his assorted bimbos, giving Junior disturbing ideas.

We think obscenity on public TV is a bad idea. So we moralize content.

How far to go? How far to go? Can we show a policeman in uniform dancing drunkenly? Can we show him stripping off his trousers and copulating? Can we show him with his mates, in uniform, gunning down a political opponent of their mayor?

Do I think those things actually occur? As facts? Yes.

Do I think they should be shown in explicit form in the news, or in a fictional portrayal on the television screen? No.

I also think that cigarettes should be taken out of the hands of actors and entertainers in mainstream daytime and evening television shows. But not from the hands of the actors and entertainers in shows rated parental guidance or stricter.

As I see it, there are four levels of control or influence over what appears on television:

  1. The laws, starting with the Constitution
  2. The television station and show producer
  3. The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)
  4. Citizens

Let’s consider each of them and then return to this matter of how the police are portrayed.

The laws, starting with the constitution

The constitution has this to say about free speech:

  • Article III, Bill of Rights, Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

The nation’s Revised Penal Code of the Philippines contains the following language on obscenity:

  • Art. 201. Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows. — The penalty of prision (sic) mayor or a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos, or both such imprisonment and fine, shall be imposed upon:
  • (1) Those who shall publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals;
  • (2) (a) the authors of obscene literature, published with their knowledge in any form; the editors publishing such literature; and the owners/operators of the establishment selling the same;
  • (b) Those who, in theaters, fairs, cinematographs or any other place, exhibit, indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows, whether live or in film, which are prescribed by virtue hereof, shall include those which (1) glorify criminals or condone crimes; (2) serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography; (3) offend any race or religion; (4) tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and (5) are contrary to law, public order, morals, and good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts;
  • (3) Those who shall sell, give away or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculpture or literature which are offensive to morals. (As amended by PD Nos. 960 and 969).

But that is not all that is in the Revised Penal Code. We also have Section 179, in its entirety:

  • Art. 179. Illegal use of uniforms or insignia. — The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class of persons of which he is not a member.

So, clearly, Philippine morality calls for a measure of understanding that misuse of police symbols undermines national good. That’s essentially what this law says.

I’ve not tried to research case law on free speech, censorship or obscenity. But here we have an example of a case filed in 2013 to punish magazines that published certain photographs: “Playboy, Maxim, and FHM Editors Charged with Obscenity”.

      • “The complainants claimed that the photos were clearly and purely intended or calculated to draw lust, stimulate sexual drive, excite impure imagination or arouse prurient interest in violation of Article 201 . . .”

We recognize that there is a moral standard of good behavior for television producers to follow. All our freedoms have an element of responsibility attached to them.  The debate as to where to draw lines is contentious. That debate is healthy.

The television station and show producer

In the Philippines, this is the point where morality hits the television screen. Media are self-regulated here. There is no Federal Communications Commission hanging like a vulture over producers’ shoulders making sure they behave properly. The system works because it is in media’s best interest not to offend people (or advertisers trying to sell to people). Riling them up is fine. Shocking them or doing crazy things with wild humor and cross-dressing comedians rampaging across the screen is okay. But swear words when Junior is watching? Stars smoking pot? Explicit sex?

No, no. The stations know limits are important and their judgments are for the most part good. They are free to decide what goes in, and what stays out.

It is also worth noting that ABS-CBN agreed with the PNP complaint cited at the beginning of this article, and apologized for the episode that ran.

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)

This governmental agency has the following mandate:

  • Regulate and classify motion pictures, television programs, and publicity materials
  • Promote an environment leading to authentic and responsible self-regulation in the film and television industry
  • Initiate plans and cooperate with the movie and television industries as sources of fueling the national economy
  • Promote and protect the family, the youth, the disabled, and other vulnerable sectors of society in the context of media and entertainment
  • Empower the Filipino family, particularly parents and at the grassroots level, such that family members are able to evaluate and intelligently choose media and entertainment content
  • Promote a value-based media and entertainment culture

Note that the method of enforcement is “self-regulation”, and anything the television stations do reflects the stations’agreement with the guidelines published by the MTRCB. Note as well the protections to citizens and good values stated in the MTRCB mandate. They play a key role in defining our entertainment morality.

This is not a state brainwashing agency, or even control. The exercise of the MTRCB mandate uses words of soft authority in its statement of mission: “encourage”, “partnership”, “authentic self-regulation”, and “spirit of service”. The MTRCB is rather like a committee that everyone can speak to, and they come up with ideas that various interests can agree to. Then they issue guidance papers. But they have no power to prosecute or fine violators. They are more like a “Good Housekeeping Seal”.


Citizens are often represented by various interest groups. The PNP is a good example. Television content affects how people view police officers, and the PNP seeks all the help the television producers can provide.

The MTRCB has structured specific agreements with many interest groups from universities to Food and Drug Administration to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. It would not surprise me if an agreement with the PNP will be forthcoming soon.

Here’s an excerpt from the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC):

      • Whereas, to realize, achieve and sustain their common aspiration, the MTRCB and the AHRC agree that there is a need to reinforce the guiding principles and strengthen the review and monitoring system of content regulation vis-a-vis human rights issues;

Then the agreement goes on to explain how the two parties will work together, with the MTRCB indicating receptivity to AHRC guidance. There are no “punishments” levied on either party if one finds the other lacking in good faith or execution. The agreement is more just a statement of that good faith, by both parties.

It is a statement of an agreed morality. A voluntary shaping of free speech.


This is not a free speech issue at all. There are many, many precedents in place where media have volunteered to be responsible in the presentation of content. It is in their best interest to do so.

This is a matter of defining the national “morality” when it comes to representations of police, and police authority.

I look at the photograph above (APEC protest) and recognize the Philippine police have a very difficult job. Citizens generally do not respect them as being “for us”, but instead see them as remnants of an old power structure that is trying to control us. For sure, leftists have no respect for the difficulty of police mandates to assure order, under law.

Ridicule is a way of getting even, I suppose.

Yet, it seems to me that the nation would benefit from television representations that are not degrading if the dramatic plot can be developed without such degrading scenes.

We can only develop a respected police force if we change our own views, voluntarily, to offer that respect.

If the dramatic plot cannot be developed without putting the police into degrading scenes, or scenes that show the police as criminal, then the rating of the show should correctly represent a need for parental guidance.

Beyond that, I think the Philippine system of self-regulation of entertainment content is excellent. The system is wholly voluntary and reasonable. I think the matter of responsible portrayal of the police is in everyone’s best interest, and that will occur as the forces that determine our television morality work through the issue.

I don’t think the PNP, by protesting how police are portrayed in a particular show, have any interest at all in limiting free speech. I think they have an interest in doing a good job, and to do it, they know they need to gain the respect of the people they are assigned to serve and protect.

We can  . . . and should . . . help them.


99 Responses to “Should TV be allowed to portray PNP officers in a degrading manner?”
  1. kazim says:

    why protest how they are projected? the news is full of police behaving badly. are we back to marcos’ years?

    • Police abuses should be reported on – and pursued by the PNP, which it is doing now. Making the uniform of the police an object of ridicule is still wrong. Because the police uniform is a symbol of public order, and as such should be sancrosanct like the flag is…

      Just like there is a flag code in the Philippines, there is a uniform code in Germany, which prohibits most significantly: a) wearing a uniform to demonstrations as a civilian b) wearing military uniform in an improper way which undermines the dignity of the armed forces. Now nobody except the leftist lunatic fringe questions that law, inspite of Hitler years past. Only leftist groups come to disturb the oath-taking of soldiers to defend the Federal Republic. Just because order was misused in the name of state impunity does not invalidate order.

    • Joe America says:

      The police did not behave badly in protecting the Pope and APEC dignitaries or securing the INC protest. This idea that because some misbehave, the rest are bad is horribly unfair. It is a common way complaints here are lodged, going from a specific incident to describe overall character. I believe overall character is honorable, and bad behavior is the exception. You say otherwise. Which of us is right, I wonder.

      It is important to portray the police positively so that we . . . especially kids . . . migrate toward a voluntary, appreciative respect for the work police do.

      • Joe America says:

        I would add as a footnote that the news is hardly a representative presentation of the way the police work, day to day. They focus on the problems, the conflicts, the gore. If that is your basis for understanding police work, I’d suggest you go down to the station near you or out in the streets and look for yourself. You need better data, I think.

        • I recommend three pages to get a better view of how PNP is changing these days:

          1. the PNP Facebook page

          2. the PNP webpage

          3. the Hanns-Seidel Foundation of Germany and their projects with the PNP

          Now this is from a former activist who hated the PC Metrocom in Marcos days.

  2. Madlanglupa says:

    I recently watched Straight Outta Compton, which includes the rap group NWA’s run-ins with the law, where, in the film’s depiction the cops are seen as exercising racial profiling by arresting anyone for just wearing a shirt and baggy jeans, or innocently walking through an orgy of arrests.

    From what I also seen of local Filipino cinema since the early 80s, there were always good cops and always the corrupt cops, and often corrupt cops are part of a politician’s private army or on a drug lord’s payroll, and in most cases these depictions were partly based on reality. Yeah, it’s often that an idealistic fresh face in the force is slowly being tempted by the “old-boys club” to join the “system”, eventually to perpetuate the stereotypical image of the cop seeing the other way around by being on the take. So as to speak, it’s hard to find the few good men and women who keep to the ideals.

    • the movie won awards at Cannes, and was about corrupt cops involved in rackets and in the prostitution industry killing a prostitute, and a young cop getting corrupted, played by Mr. Guapo himself, Coco Martin… but he does not strip in a PNP uniform. He does play bold roles in some other movies of Brillante Mendoza, in fact he even plays a gay masseur in one. I think the nuances matter a lot, and make the difference between social commentary and frivolous disrespect of an entire institution.

  3. karl garcia says:

    I remember Korina Sanches getting suspended for lambasting the whole PNP while interviewing PNP chief Umbert Rodriguez.That is shows the fine line between free speech and responsible speech.

    • Somebody got sued in Germany for saying “soldiers are murderers”… and especially for telling a soldier in a public meeting “you are also a murderer, Herr…”

      Wearing ACAB (all cops are bastards) on a jacket to a demonstration is construed as a provocation and can be penalized in Germany, and the “palusot” that it means “all colors are beautiful” will not be accepted by most judges if the wearer has a certain background.

      • karl garcia says:

        So it is not really that strict in Pinas.

        • No. When I moved to Germany in 1982 because of my opposition to Marcos, the total Pinoy I was then was literally shocked by how truly strict the system there was and is… noise and youth curfews a la Davao are state and federal laws here, not municipal… German libel and cybercrime laws I have written about, national ID and residence registration, Europol database, criminal conviction database.. observation of groups that are against the constitution… but all democratically controlled and following OWN rules…

          In Cubao along EDSA near Aurora, jaywalking was normal, people walked on the street inspite of barriers to force them to use the sidewalk – discipline during Marcos days my ass… it was more like pretending to be disciplined on the surface, plus “state impunity”.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting. I was not aware of that. Let’s keep it to ourselves for a while, okay? 😉

  4. karl garcia says:

    PNp reacted on the program with a bridal shower, but did not react on a program where a cop is a son of a mob boss, and he has many dirty cops in his gang.Maybe they did,but picked on an easier target.

    • karl garcia says:

      That was a scene from On the Wings of love

      In another Program: Ang Probinsyano.A policeman crossdresses for an under cover mission.

  5. Jean says:

    Do television shows and movies influence the way we look at things, yes they do! But I believe this is further qualified by the type of movie or we watch.

    For example

    I believe the perception on how “dangerous” Pitbulls are, will most likely be influenced by a documentary that comes out on Animal Planet or The Discovery Channel. Information will only truly have tangible weight with an individual when they reference it with their own personal experience with Pit bulls. If I watch an action show with a scene where a pitbull is viciously attacking a person… it doesn’t influence my universal perception of Pitbulls. Doesn’t this school of thought holds true for most of us.

    That being said, if there are any bad sentiments towards the PNP, it is not primarily/significantly based of how they are portrayed on screen. Normally it is because of personal experience with them.

    While the argument that bad seeds shouldn’t affect our perception of the whole, is sound, when the amount of bad seeds becomes alarming, it calls for a second look doesn’t it?

    I find it curious, why they found offense in this particular show/scene. People in police uniforms on tv have been strip-dancing, bribing, killing… ect, before. What was so offensive about this situation. I don’t think the scene even focused on the uniform itself, the show was probably just going for the “Man in a uniform” is sexy thing to put in a bridal shower scene.

    I don’t put much weight on strict censorship. I spent a better portion of my life watching TV and Movies. Even before I was a teen I had my fair share of gore, porn and cursing (without my folks knowledge of course). That being said, I don’t go around shooting or raping people. I follow the law (even when i don’t agree with it ), I respect my parents and people in general.

    The PNP I feel is using this as a publicity stunt and should focus their attention on things more pertinent.

    • Joe America says:

      The issue is not censorship. It is agreeing to a positive representation of the police so people gain respect for the work they do and to help them in fighting crime. Your skepticism about the police and what they are trying to do suggests you lack that respect, as do leftists and many people who grew up with the police representing an unwanted authority. This article might be instructional. It talks about the positive benefits of portraying crime fighters as the good guys.

      • Jean says:

        Sorry, when I first thought to respond, I was operating from the opening of your article, the discussion between you and Raissa. Thus my focus was erroneously placed on censorship and freedom of speech. I apologize.

        Now I believe you jumped to the wrong conclusion, don’t get me wrong, I respect the job and the responsibilities that go with it. I am even personally invested since my In-laws are cops, the neighbors I like are cops and so is a direct cousin or two of mine. I have hung out with them outside their work hours and they are the first people I look for when I am lost in an unfamiliar place. They have the capacity to do much good and I am aware of the sacrifices they make to do it.

        So let me try to tie this in with the topic at hand, should they be portrayed well on TV and movies… yes they should be. But the representation should be factual which means they should also be portrayed as flawed as well. This will give impressionable audiences a healthy wariness that everybody needs to protect themselves at all times.

        The school of thought that any profession in particular needs/ought to be portrayed positively in shows to help reinforce the respectability of the profession in real life is flawed. Let me sight a few examples, Doctors get respect in real life even if on TV they are shown to lose some lives sometimes. Businessmen get respect despite being portrayed as vultures in shows. Foreigners are for the most part treated acceptably here even if they have been shown to be conquers and tormentors in the movies. Must I say more?

        While I admit TV has an effect on perception, I hardly doubt it is the real culprit as to why a significant portion of society distrusts the PNP. Will it help if we were to apply your proposition? I think it would but can not for the life of me accept why theirs should be the exception.

        • Joe’s article is NOT about showing the police in a critical light, or even being satirical.

          It is about THIS kind of obscenity which I think your in-laws wouldn’t like either…

          • I wonder how the reaction of the public would be if a priest were shown that way, stripping after mass in front of one of the choirboys. Might actually be more realistic in some cases.

          • Jean says:

            To be honest, the cop’s uniform would not even have registered with me if not for it being the topic at hand. I don’t think I liked or disliked the PNP more after watching this scene. My in-laws have also chimed in on this, basically they said the could give a rat’s ass about this “issue”

            I guess after this comment I’ll sit the rest out. I just can’t identify with the general sentiment because perhaps I have not the experiences or the years to have the same perspective as you all seem to have. Alas, the obscenity you all are going on about is lost on me.

            • Would you approve of a pin-up model, wearing nothing but the Philippine flag? I doubt it. Now for some the police uniform is something that should be respected, just like the flag.

            • Joe America says:

              Ah, I see. So that’s the disconnect we have. You believe that our (my) view is that a policeman stripping is obscene, which you don’t believe it is. I agree. I also think actors smoking on the stage is not obscene. Yet it is not done. Not because anyone fines them if they smoke, but because TV stations won’t air the program . . . voluntarily . . . because viewers will protest and their advertisers won’t like it. Everything the MTRCB does is voluntary, an agreed expression of public sentiment. The example in the article dealt with human rights issues (agreement between MTRCB and Ateneo HR), and how to present . . . say a program on human trafficking . . . in a way that builds sensitivity about the issue. It isn’t a negative control of limiting content, of censorship, of obscenity. It is agreeing on ways to present content positively so it reinforces what parents and human rights organizations, and in our case, the police, are trying to do well. It is a way to build respect for the police in small, voluntary ways.

              • Jean says:

                <—AH!!! blink blink, shakes head. Now I get where you coming from. I will now go do my best impression of an ostrich and bury my head in the sand.

                Seriously though, thanks… your comment put this issue under a different light. Now, I agree without reservation.

              • Joe America says:

                Well, then, let’s both go out and have a nice day! 🙂 🙂 (Whew!)

    • NHerrera says:

      Your post counter-balances that of Joe and uses the thematic — focus attention on things more pertinent.

      From what you related I believe you are the portion of the population who has command of oneself — not easily manipulated. And I commend you for the stronger stuff that you are made of.

      Joe, I believe most strongly also has the same strong stuff you have. He, however, tries to view things from the perspective of the other, perhaps much larger population part — who like the pejorative, bobotante, that is ascribed to them is easily manipulated by the subliminal scenes they see; and he appeals to not adding “fuel to the fire that admittedly some PNP people are guilty of” by helping the very institution charged with keeping the peace in our streets. (They did a marvelous job at the Pope’s Visit and the APEC meeting.)

      This is my balanced view of your and Joe’s notes on the matter.

      On the thematic focus attention on things more pertinent, I believe your note stands without that phrase; it seems out of place on the piece I otherwise appreciate.

    • wangad says:

      as charity begins at home, policing begins within the police force, police should police themselves. zero tolerance for police members projecting a bad image of the police force. if any potrayal of bad image by police is posted on social media, no ifs and buts on it…immediate suspension without pay or better still he/she can do a detail (of course in civilian clothes) of street sweeper, pedestrian crossing aide, kitchen detail, kp or similar jobs at half their pay. police commanders should act as commanders and father figures to their police troops. there should be a code of police conduct and corresponding court of police code where a high ranking officer presides to hear the complaints and the accused be judged by a jury of 40% police members and 60% civilian (ala court martial procedings).
      one of the reasons why we have many exceptions to normalcy in the philippines is because of lack of proper law enforcement, selective law enforcement, and offenders not duly meted punishment to discourage repeat offenders.

      • wangad says:

        the portrayal and the news how an ex-INC member lowel menorca got arrested on his way to a hearing is an example of bad potrayal. should we stop showing this kind of upload because it degrades the police force.i tend to look a this as an educational video…not all the police are like this but are exceptions and if we would have not seen it such episodes may have a repeat performance.

    • Joe America says:

      There is no starting point, it is a circle, chickens and eggs. We ought to demand good behavior from the police, and we ought to teach kids or impressionable adults that the police are the good guys, not the bad. If there are that many criminals in the police department, we ought to elect Duterte and get it cleaned out.

      • manuelbuencamino says:

        Joe, I have no doubt your proposal is well meant. But it’s on a slippery slope. Those guns pointed at the bad guys can be pointed our way too. We have experienced it first hand. I may have phrased my previous comment wrong and so it came out as a chicken and egg thing. “Police are supposed to be the good guys not the bad.” But as we all know that’s not always the case. I think those phone-cam videos of erring cops are doing a great public service. I think theatrical portrayals taking the air out of puffed up cops are great. They all serve as reminders to cops that they are supposed to be the good guys. Besides there are enough shows that glamorize cops, some in fact even go to the extent of giving their blessing to extra-judicial behavior. Freedom of speech has limits…but let’s focus more on protecting the freedom and less on imposing limits.

        • Joe America says:

          “Impose” is not what is being proposed, at least not by me. Seeking voluntary agreement of the television stations on a presentation of police that promotes respect for the important role they play is what I have in mind. Rather the way cigarettes are not shown, to not set up the wrong kind of role model. The news can continue to present the facts. Well, they call them facts. I call it gratuitous sensationalizing of the news.

  6. edgar lores says:

    1. Hmm, interesting question.

    2. My approach is to see things based on externals and internals (or form and substance), and ignore the legalities.

    3. A uniform is an external. Internals are principles that guide behavior — which is an external.

    4. I would teach myself and people to distinguish between externals and internals.

    5. Teaching (or conditioning) people to respect externals on the basis of symbolism alone may not be skillful.

    5.1. Certainly, some externals are sacrosanct or near-sacrosanct. National flags. Wedding rings. Arguably, religious icons. Other externals are not. Gang colors. Representations (photos, statues, busts) of extant dictators. Arguably, religious icons.

    5.2. The danger of conditioning people to respect externals is that they may not detect improper internals — in this case, for example, the abusive behavior behind the uniform.

    5.3. Uniforms should engender respect but not paralyzing fear.

    5.4. Sometimes it is important to show that form does not equate to substance. it is good to laugh at externals once in a while.

    • Joe America says:

      It depends who the audience is, and I rather doubt many parse things as well as you do. Maybe I don’t give kids or adults enough credit for being able to sort out reality from fiction. As my young son counsels me as I reach for the remote to flip from a particularly distasteful scene, “Dad, it’s just a movie.” I’ve been rummaging around through the literature to try to find research that bears me out, that TV socializes people and people in turn socialize TV. It’s not at all definitive. Still, I don’t like to see presidential candidates fondling women in public and I don’t like the police (a benevolent authority in most American communities) being portrayed as crude, rude undisciplined twits. Color me prudish.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Joe I had a very odd experience in the USA when I was living In Virginia..One day we went to Charlottesville to meet friends.We arranged to meet at a cafe..And I was not sure of the location..So after looking in the out door mall a while I went & asked a cop ( sorry policeman ) standing on the corner.

        He listened to my query and then explained how to get to the cafe.. Problem solved !
        I walked back to my friends and said OK we go this way…

        But one of the USA persons there stopped us moving and asked me “Why were you talking to the cop ?” I explained I had asked him where the cafe was and that he had helped by telling me where to go..

        My reply was greeted very grumpily..She ( a white New Yorker woman ) said ” we don’t that sort of thing here in America with cops…”

        Clearly she thought the cops were ‘suspect.’.

        As for me I think the police are also paid servants of the people with an important job to do and act that way..

        I wonder if America has changed

        • Madlanglupa says:

          Cops tend to act differently depending on where they are assigned to; some of them are more prone to indifference if their beat is in a slum, a ghetto, or wherever cops are seen as a threat to that community’s existence than as a unifying agent.

          Oh, yes, it’s unfortunate of late that police are now seen in a negative light in America because of racial tensions and unnecessary use of force.

          • The Bavarian State Police I am writing about below used to have a bad reputation among minorities and poor people I have heard – now they have managed to reform themselves and are even teaching the PNP about human rights AND effective policing… it is possible.

        • This is the place to reiterate the cooperation between German HSS, Bavarian State police and PNP, especially in human rights:

          Now the Bavarian State Police is directly descended as an institution from the Bavarian police – a highly efficient institution, but not always with the best human rights reputation. Some people have told me they were feared up to the 1960s for their rough approach.

          Now who is the best to teach the former Marcos PC – which is what the PNP used to be – how to handle human rights and still be efficient than those who have had a learning curve themselves. Some of the best people helping in drug rehab are former addicts…

          In addition to that, they are teaching the PNP efficient policing. Used to be that the PC was inefficient AND brutal – the worst combination, basically a the cops of a banana republic.

          Besides, true respect is better than fear, and respect is mutual. This is all since 2009.

        • What do you expect from a Nu Yawker, a touchy-feely speech about cops? It’s the city that never sleeps so its residents are sleep deprived grumpy people. 🙂

          America has not changed, some Americans did. Big city folks often have Type A personalities.

          Small city and country folks are still laid back and hospitable. Children are still told to go find a police if they need help and are taught to dial 911 to get assistance.

          • Joe America says:

            My attitude toward police is shaped by two incidents.

            One. Our high school graduation party was at a park in the mountains. The police provided an escort with two cars, lights flashing, for about 50 of our cars. When we got to the park, a senior policeman gathered us around, and this was his little speech as near as I can remember it. “Okay people, we know you have beer in the trunks and you’ll pull it out as soon as we leave. You’ve just graduated. Don’t mess it up. If you are drinking, don’t drive. Don’t go wild on us. Congratulations on your graduation. You’ve earned this party.” With that the police climbed into their two cars raced off, lights flashing, sirens blazing. Out came the beer and a lot of respect, from kids who normally did not trust cops all that much. Cops are people, too, and I’d guess most of them are compassionate and even fun-loving people.

            The other, 2001, World Trade Center, when a lot of first responders were going in as people were running out.

      • NHerrera says:

        Somehow I am drawn to this Christian Biblical Passage:

        If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same — Jesus Christ

  7. Rank says:

    Maybe a little off topic and a quibble.
    No need for the (sic) in this your quote from the Revised Penal Code:
    “The penalty of prision (sic) mayor”
    The term prision mayor does not have a direct equivalent in English legal terminology. So it was carried over as is from Spain’s Codigo Penal when it was translated into English.

  8. josephivo says:

    I see two aspects, the content and intend. The content goes from an explicit no-no, police uniforms in an obscenity, inviting for violence… up to an absolute yes, a shining uniform in a heroic scene. There is a lot in between, where the context gives color and where intend becomes more relevant. Was it to ridicule, to put in a bad daylight or to make it realistic, show an exception…?

    For a striptease at a bachelor party the catalogue let you choose between a nurse, a school teacher, a nun or a police woman. In a bridal shower it will be similar I guess. For me this situation was quite innocent, the intention was most likely to make the scene realistic. The problem with some policemen is not that they striptease but e.g. that they are involved in drug deals.

    Intend also plays a role by those complaining. Being hurt, educational, divert attention…. Here the intend smells quite hypocrite and that might be why Raissa was reacting, not the “great principles.”

  9. I used to be afraid of the police when I was about 4 years old when the police under the employ of an ultra rich landowner came for my father whose fault was to take a nap one noon, leaving his carabao which broke free from its ropes and fed on the young coconut seedlings of the rich corporate land owner.

    I outgrew that fear and came to respect the men in uniform when I realized that a few crooks among them do not make everyone bad. Reading about those good men who did their job over and above the call of duty, and risk their lives so that the citizens can sleep soundly has strengthened that belief and respect came after that.

    The PNP should counter the bad image that the media of today has given their organization. Let the people be aware that most of them have the best interest of the citizens in their heart and mind, medals awarded and stories of noble deeds should also be part of the news nightly along with abuses of other groups, both documented and accurate, of course.

    Securing the Pope, the APEC, SONA, etc is no joke, with some of them injured because of maximum tolerance order, such orders being abused by left leaning malcontents; not responding to the call of nature during those times, I don’t envy their job, but someone gotta do it, they say.

    May God bless them.

    • Movies that portrayed bad elements on the police and military officers are so common nowadays. Good cops, bad cops..military used by politicians to further their evil dreams to control a country and its resources. To portray them realistically, actors have to dress their part.

      One downside – others are being given bad ideas, same as in crime buster series and movies that show how to circumvent security measures, picking locks shown in detail, bombing a house with murdered people inside using anything and everything from gasoline to cooking gas left open to start the conflagration…things like those are being copied by enterprising bad elements.

      And uniforms worn by strip teasers in day time or early afternoon shows are in bad taste, I believe. It ridicules, disrespect those in authorities.

  10. David Murphy says:

    One aspect of the issue of media representation of PNP personnel in adverse ways is the pre-existing perception of the PNP by the public. My personal contact with the PNP is traffic stops in Metro Manila for the purpose of collecting bribes. My usual response is to decline to pay the bribe and to ask for the ticket. This is time-consuming and renders their activity less profitable. Often they let me proceed without either payment or ticket. (I confess that sometimes I give them a token payment before I leave, telling them that I appreciate the difficulty of raising a family on a policeman’s salary. I suppose this is condoning the activity but if they are not arrogant or rude I can’t help but be sympathetic to their situation. On the other hand I have been known to “lose it” and berate the policeman for disgracing his uniform, which should be a proud and honorable symbol of integrity and service.) This forms the basis of my perception of the PNP.
    If the PNP wants to improve their public image, they must eliminate the commonplace occurrences of misconduct at the most basic levels of contact with the public. These constitute the basis of the public image of the PNP. If it is good, the people will largely disregard unfavorable media depictions of the PNP. If the media presentation merely confirms the pre-existing adverse experiences, no amount of censorship will help.

    • I have some questions on this:

      1. has anybody tried complaining to higher-ups about this kind of behavior?

      2. what was the reaction of higher-ups, was the complaint followed up? Or did the same stuff happen as what happened in bad old days, god forbid, that one got harassed more?

      Because a PNP that only protects government events like APEC and Pope visit is just that: a tool of the powerful, not a police force to help protect the citizenry from crime and abuse.

      In fact if it mainly just abuses the citizenry, and those who harrass citizens are not stopped, then they don’t deserve full respect yet. They do deserve a chance – because I have ALSO read of those who help people and catch criminals. The big picture is what is important…

      • My latest article is a kind of follow up on how the Philippine government treats foreign business…

        Now these questions are a follow up on how it treats its citizens, does it embody rule of law?

        To what extent does state impunity, or gangs within state institutions, still celebrate itself?

    • Joe America says:

      You must break a lot of laws. 🙂 Probably the fastest way to improve police behavior is to grow the economy and raise salaries. Good point, that most of the bad behavior is economic. TV is secondary to that.

  11. caliphman says:

    I tend to lean toward Raissa’s take which gives more weight on freedom of speech rights over the the needs of the government to regulate such rights to preserve law and order. Joe, I agree with you on certain specific and rare situations the latter takes precedence and public as well as even human rights should be temporarily suspended. But the horror Marcos martial law years illustrates the extreme danger of the government suppressing the right of free speech to manage public perceptions and attitudes about its organs of power, including the PNP. The fundamental question is who and where to draw the line between the rights of the public to free speech and to know and the state’s responsibility to maintain public safety and order. In my opinion, it is very dangerous to give the state the power to censor free speech for the avowed purpose for managing public respect for the role or authority of the PNP, the armed forces, or public officials or organizations.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting, I’m starting to lean that way myself, as it pertains to the police issue (or non-issue). I’ve gotta stop reading the comments here. They’re making me wishy washy. 🙂

      • butod says:

        Yup. You really have to read up on how Marcos “managed” content in the press back in the dark days, Joe. So you’d see how impulses for priveleging “positive” news can easily get hostaged by iterations of Imelda’s “the true, the good and the beautiful” to mask dark realities. I can just as easily get annoyed as you by the many liberties that the mass media take these days, but I console myself in the thought that it is also these liberties that have paved the way for the ouster of Marcos Erap and Corona, and exposed GMA’s and Binay’s thievery and corruption of institutions.

        • Joe America says:

          Point taken. Good history lesson.

          • For some – those who came in later on like you did, or the young – it’s “just” history.

            For many – those who lived through the period – it’s part of their life, like Vietnam for you.

            Francisco Tatad was Minister of Truth. Public Information was his Ministry I think…

            Juan Ponce Enrile was Minister of Goodness. No Interior Ministry then, just Defense, the PC and the INP which later became PNP under Cory were highly militarized, not to mention the CHDF, the Civilian Home Defense Force which later was renamed to CAFGU…

            Imelda Marcos was Minister of Beauty. Human Settlements Ministry undertook a lot of beautification projects, putting flowers on rotondas and walls to hide squatters…

            Orwell, Filipino version. 1986 came after 1984. Yet so much has been forgotten.

            Also because people didn’t talk. History was forgotten. And like in Eastern Europe after communism, freedom went a bit too far, and the young often yearn for the old “order”. Neo-Ceaucescu youth for example were pretty common in Romania just a few years ago. This is what happens when the generation in charge is too high on freedom for reasons that are understandable, and the young see the negative aspects of freedom unleashed.

            Especially because nations that have lived in a cage for a while tend to misuse freedom. The Inquirer used to be the great force for democracy, now it often just runs wild on stuff. Opposition to a national ID might also be due to irrational fears of a new dictatorship… Strangely enough, it is those who are uncritical of the dictatorship that are painting a very false picture of the LP as a modern version of Marcos’ self-congratulatory KBL party. For all their valid criticisms, the conclusions of GRP are intellectually dishonest, like Wallace.

  12. Juana Pilipinas says:


    Uh, oh. Wallace just mentioned you in his article. And not in a very flattering way:

  13. There’s a rich history of satire (and parody) in the movies and TV over here, from the Keystone Cops to last Friday’s opening of Ride Along 2.

    Both military and police of any nation that purports a healthy democracy and freedoms should be able to take these commentaries in stride, and grow from it—

    Media, TV, film and news, aside, the actual threat to the sanctity of both police and military uniforms actually lies in personal media nowadays, cell phone videos to CCTV footage in youtube or facebook (not depictions of cops, but actual cops/military actions caught on tape for everyone to 2nd guess— how the police and military handle this new type of media,

    is more a priority than any traditional media’s depiction. And I think the difference simply is volume. We are experiencing the damage of volume now. There’s re-training and there’s awareness of recording— and as per edgar‘s comment above, a lot of it goes back to character building.

    • Joe America says:

      That is all true. But as the viewing public to a lot of these incidents, we also have to consider that there are a lot of good police working for our safety every day in dangerous situations. They just don’t show up on prime time news.

      • Good police work is actually the best way to counter all these trending negatives.

        But the conditions have to be set for good police work to multiply and infect. So things like metrics in policing, ie. so many traffic tickets, so many arrests, etc. undermines good policing rather than encourages it.

        In addition to that, a good spokesperson/s (preferably an eloquent and personable copper) that will not only explain police work (especially uses of force, lethal to nonlethal), but encourages public participation in police matters. ( policing is a fine balance, police abuse or if the public demands too soft policing, ineffective cops, and this scene from Demolition Man captures it perfect. any citizenry should fear this scenario more. )

      • Also, although good policing should be encouraged, the public has to understand that once in awhile they must look away for a second or two, and let our sin-eaters do what they must, w/out fear of public outcry afterwards. For example these two POSs, I hope to God they are getting extra-attention outside of the criminal justice system,

        Usually it’s the jailers who advertise these individuals’ crimes, and let other criminals dispense “justice” on them.


    In the ensuing brawl between the police and leftist groups, Police Officer Rodelissa S. Naoy was caught off guard when an activist throwed paint on her, splashing all over on her uniform but PSI Rodelissa Naoy stood her ground and showed to her colleagues and the rallyist itself that she is a woman with iron balls.

  15. off-topic: – the Naumann Foundation is affiliated with Germany’s Free Democrats, also called Liberals, who also use the color yellow BTW, the speech is good and makes Aquino’s principles clear… what I have noticed is that he is more relaxed when he is NOT speaking to Filipinos, more able to be himself… I guess it is hard to talk to people who feel like throwing tomatoes all the time, makes you awkward.

    Over the years of my Presidency, I have enjoyed access to more sources of unfiltered and uneditorialized information. Through this, among other things, I have grown accustomed to the varying interpretations of what it means to be a Liberal. As I understand it, European Liberals favor smaller governments, preferring that individuals be allowed to live their lives with minimal intervention from those in power. We, as an emerging nation, need a more robust government to ensure that our people are able to avail of services that allow them to live with dignity, and with the possibility of advancement. In other countries, being liberal has been equated with progressiveness—which, in more extreme cases, has taken on a rather disruptive character. The quest to shake up the status quo, and to see immediate results, can sometimes take for granted that real, meaningful, sustainable change cannot happen overnight; it often requires tediously chipping away at massive structural injustices that have calcified over generations.

    Whatever the differences, it is clear that Liberals all over the world have always stood for freedom: The freedom of the individual to take hold of his own destiny, and to live with dignity as all should. For me, to speak about freedom means to always be reminded of a lesson I learned from my own father. This was at the time of Martial Law in the country—an era defined by oppression and the lack of freedom. We were in exile then in Boston, and in my attempt to understand our predicament, I asked him: “If we are on the side that is right, why are we the ones suffering in exile? Why have so few stood with us against the dictatorship?” My father replied: “The first freedom is freedom from hunger. Without this, all other freedoms are meaningless.”

  16. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    Heard on TV Patrol news: Justice Secretary Alfred Benjamin Caguioa appointed by President Aquino as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. We then have now 6 SC Justices appointed by Aquino out of the 15 in the SC.

    • The Comelec Chair, the OSG are both for Poe, SC AJ Leonen appears sympathetic, although we will know for sure next Tuesday and until he casts his vote.

      Pnoy is being roasted for appointing his former classmate, but I have enough confidence that he has the welfare of the nation in his mind when he considers every decision of national importance, keeping in mind that he is not all knowing like God, nor does he possess a crystal ball. The fact that he is a bar topnotcher and a long time friend of Pnoy is good enough for me. Although friends have been known to betray him, surely not all his friends are like that.

      One columnist even went to the extent in saying that Pnoy, for all his attack on GMA, has made this midnight appointment of his own at the SC. How could that be.? I thought the date today is January 22, 2016 and not April, 2016…What is the exact date that an incumbent President is not allowed to make appointments that could be considered midnight ones? Another reseaarch assignment for me.

  17. Ok, I need to correct myself, Pnoy can only appoint government officials up to March 9, 2016 + – or 60 days before election day.

    “Midnight appointment pertains to an appointment made during a prohibited period, and that prohibited period during the (last) election started on March 10,” explains Ochoa in an interview at his office by the Pasig river. “So, therefore, all appointments made that time which do not fall under the exemptions are midnight appointments.”

    The 1987 Constitution enunciates the policy against presidential appointments 60 days before an election and until the end of the president’s term.

    Article 7, Section 15 of the Constitution says: Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.”

  18. Jake says:

    Yknow, always portraying the PNP or Military as “bad boys” isn’t helping without getting the government to address the corruption in the institutions. Be proactive, not reactive.

    Which brings me to what is happening in the US regarding police brutality. The painting of all police as “bad” (always targeting black people) had led to the cold blooded murder of two police of minority races (Asian and Hispanic)…and the “black lives matter” were eerily silent about it. When a police gunned down a criminal (caught in the act) who happened to be black, the “black lives matter” was there again protesting…Statistically, black people commit disproportionate number of crimes. The focus of black lives matter should be addressing these epidemic in the black community through educating them and giving them better opportunities and convincing them to get real education (so they could get decent and honorable jobs), not trying to protect dangerous criminals.

    It does not help that a lot of Filipinos tend to believe what is fed to them and can’t distinguish reality from fiction (a lot of Filipinos still believe in the actual existence of the mananaggal and aswang).

    When we are going to have a movie for the fallen SAF44? Oh wait, 1/3 of the SAF who died were Igorots…nevermind a movie about them full of “barbaric natives”. The existence of the Igorots offends Filipino pride because of their loincloth (see: Carlos P Romulo, who got offended that the US referred to the Igorots as tribal “Filpino” over the inhuman/commoditizing treatment of the Igorots) /sarcasm.


    Most Manila taxi drivers are really bad and rip off based on personal and my peers’ experience. We need Filipino directors to also make movies about these Manila taxi drivers.

  19. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    Mangar Mangahas of SWS has an interesting data from the exit poll of May 10, 2010 which he assumes may be approximately true for the May 9, 2016 election and he expressed it as follows:

    Thus, from now up to February, I think only half of the electorate will have chosen their candidate. By the end of April, perhaps it will be three-fourths. Perhaps one-fourth of the electorate will decide only in the last 10 days.

    Translated into the relevant period we have:

    Period————-% firm—-%Cumulative
    Feb or earlier——- 50——– 50
    March-Apri———- 25——– 75
    May—————— 25——– 100

    This means to me that although the population through the surveys to date may have preferences and may use those preferences to vote if done during the survey, there is significant numbers changing their minds one way or the other during the 60 days in March-April and the last (approximately) 10 days in May. This parallels the concept of the “last minute voters” used by @giancarlo in the blog article he posted earlier.

    The real battle is thus really during the Election Campaign Period. Before that, the likely result is just a “patikim” in Pilipino or a small bite to taste what MAY come out when the food is fully-cooked.

    The link to Mangahas article:

    • Joe America says:

      I follow Carlos Celdran on Twitter. He observes that when he first announced his support for Roxas some time ago, he had a lot of critics on his timeline. Today he observed that this has changed, and there are more positives. One can think, “well, Carlos has lost fans” or one can think “well, Roxas is gaining ground”. I see Roxas and Robredo working the Philippines personally at well-organized rallies, some significant in size, on an exhausting schedule . . . and they are presenting the future in a positive way. I’d guess that Carlos still has most of his fans.

  20. josephivo says:

    Of topic

    “Four students from the University of the Philippines Diliman won first place at the 7th Industrial Engineering Competition (IECOM) in Bandung, Indonesia.”

    I wonder if their reception back in Manila will be as enthusiastically covered as the return of Miss Universe.

    • karl garcia says:

      I wish so. They deserve a welcoming band.We have long been cosidered as the laggards in mathematics and science,butvare fiesta attitude is only for paquiao and beauty queens.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, frankly, they did not stun the world on a global stage, but if they had, for sure the reception would have been as big. They are actually getting good news coverage, I think. Plus, frankly, Pia is good for both the eye and brain. She’s one smart, well-principled, charming, nicely designed representative.

    • NHerrera says:

      That is an interesting thought. But don’t hold your breath. A parallel thought as yours — the media give so much importance if not play to the bar examinees passing. We do not do AS MUCH to those passing the examination of the other professions vital to the country. That explains perhaps one facet of the problem in the Philippines. In the media, when one mentions a lawyer’s credential, invariably his topping or being second or third in the bar examination is mentioned. That is usually not done with the other professions.

      • Joe America says:

        In a culture of entitlement, favor and impunity, the architects of bad behavior get recognition. Lawyers.

        Some even get promoted to the Senate where they can act as inquisitors to one of the most decent and accomplished Presidents the nation has ever known.

        • NHerrera says:

          That is why we read or hear statements not only from would be dictators or from ordinary citizens that the first thing they would do given the chance is to “line up all lawyers against the wall and do a ‘Jose Rizal’ on them.” We do not read of such statements spoken of the people in the other professions.

          And here I am, a peace-loving man (hahaha) writing this. May be I am just jealous because no one of my relatives, unless I go to some distant past, is a lawyer who topped, placed second or third in the bar examination.

  21. karl garcia says:

    Cctvs are good news.Soon we will develop enough shame. cell phone videos of arrogant taxi drivers will one day take effect of hopefully having friendlier drivers.
    Cctv shots of negative behavior even of our policeman will result to more good behavior of the police men and the society.We just have to develop a sense of shame.

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