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Dela Rosa wants regular neuropsychiatric tests, anger management for cops

There ought to be regular neuropsychiatric tests and anger management sessions for cops, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former national police chief, said on Saturday, December 26.

This comes in the wake of a policeman’s fatal shooting of an unarmed man and his mother in Tarlac on December 20, which shook the nation and put a harsh spotlight on atrocities committed by cops.

The brazen, cold-blooded manner in which cop Jonel Nuezca shot dead Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank Gregorio, 25, had some people wondering whether Nuezca was mentally and emotionally infirm.

Members of the police force could surely use mental and emotional support, Dela Rosa said in the Laging Handa televised briefing on Saturday.

A cop typically undergoes neuropsychiatric testing only during his application to join the police force, and if he applies for schooling or promotion.

“Other than that, wala talagang regular na neuro [test]. So puwedeng pagpasok niya sa pagka-pulis, normal siya, wala siyang problema, pero habang nasa serbisyo siya, natuto siyang gumamit ng droga kaya nasira ang kanyang utak, so puwedeng magbago ang kanyang ugali,” said Dela Rosa.

(Other than that, there really is no regular neuro test. So it’s possible that when they join the police, they are normal and have no problem, but while in the service, they learn to use drugs and their brain gets damaged, so their behavior can change.)

“So kailangan talaga, regular ang neuropsychiatric [test], kung puwede annually (So neuropsychiatric tests must be done regularly, annually if possible),” he added.

So with anger management counseling, the senator said. If someone had coached Nuezca to take deep breaths in the heat of his rage, he might have thought twice before shooting his victims, Dela Rosa said.

All these being said, Dela Rosa wants to concentrate the authority to discipline erring cops on the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Currently, other agencies also have a hand in disciplining the police force, such as the National Police Commission, People’s Law Enforcement Board, local government units, and the Ombudsman, he said.

“As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth,” Dela Rosa quipped.

A military commander is able to outright detain an erring member of his company, whereas the “due process” in the police force takes 30 days, Dela Rosa pointed out.

While due process is necessary, Dela Rosa said it usually leads to the case “dragging on.” In some cases, rogue cops take advantage of the process to stay in the service or to return after getting dismissed.

The cop-turned-lawmaker said he would revisit Republic Act No. 8551 or the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, to check for possible amendments to provisions on the disciplinary powers of the PNP chief. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.

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