Cops preying on vulnerable women will not be tolerated in the Philippine National Police (PNP), its chief, General Archie Gamboa, warned in a statement released today.
Gamboa’s statement comes after Rappler published a report yesterday which detailed how poverty-stricken women were allowed to cross quarantine borders by granting sexual favors to patrolling cops who have allegedly demanded them.
“The PNP takes these allegations seriously because we respect women and honor their role in society. We will never tolerate any form of physical or sexual abuse against women. I strongly urge those unnamed sources to immediately report to the PNP and to file charges against suspected wrongdoers,” Gamboa said, emphasizing that the predatory act is flat out criminal.
“The moment a police officer commits a crime, he stops being an officer of the law and becomes a criminal, a sexual predator,” Gamboa said.
The PNP chief urged “victims or interested persons with information to share, to come out so we can investigate and take appropriate action against erring cops.”
This is far from the first time that members of the police have been accused of taking advantage of their position to sexually abuse women. In 2018, a member of the Manila Police District was accused of raping the teen daughter of drug suspects in exchange for her parent’s liberty. The incident prompted the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific to claim that the horrific culture of “palit-puri” (loosely translated to “sex in exchange for freedom”) had worsened under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Gamboa, meanwhile, said that the allegations are hurting other honest, hardworking members of the PNP.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have police frontliners who risk their lives on a daily basis. It is unfair that they become part of an unfounded generalization simply because of the criminal actions of a few,” he said.
A total of 4,000 quarantine checkpoints have been set up across different points in the country, to restrict the movement of people to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Metro Manila and other high-risk areas have been on lockdown since March 17, and the latest extension of the modified enhanced community quarantine is expected to end on May 31.