Instead of blaming their supposedly materialistic wives, erring police officers should own up to their corrupt ways just as the government should exert efforts to improve the criminal justice system, a psychiatrist said on Wednesday.
Dr Jessy Ang, who has attended to soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders, belied the thinking that policemen, who have been trained for years to handle conflict, could easily succumb to pressures from their materialistic wives.
This thinking reflects an attitude of scapegoatism in which one doesn't want to take responsibility for his actions, according to Ang.
"We have to be accountable for our decisions, actions. You can't say that you made a mistake because your spouse pressured you, or that because your child has a problem ... . You should be mature enough to face the consequences," Ang said on the sidelines of a press forum in Quezon City.
At the Philippine National Police's mass wedding for its personnel at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Tuesday, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa told the wives of his men not to be materialistic as this was one of the major causes of policemen resorting to corruption.
"Do not pressure your husband to buy you (expensive) stuff so that he will not be pressured to look for income through illegal means that will lead to corruption," Dela Rosa said.
Ang said the wife or any other family member should not be blamed for the actions of an erring policeman because it was only he who committed the corrupt act. Hence, the responsibility lies solely with the policeman.
One of the causes of lawmen being emboldened to engage in corruption is the lack of an "effective law enforcement" in the country, according to the psychiatrist.
Ang pointed out that in other countries, including the United States, people could not get away with violations as simple as speeding.
He also bemoaned the fact that the criminal justice system in the Philippines was tipped in favour of the rich and powerful.
Ang cited as an example the case of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who was convicted of plunder and was supposed to serve life in prison. Estrada was pardoned by his successor, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"The problem with us Filipinos, as former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said, is that we are softhearted to people who commit major crimes. We should be firm and strict," Ang said.
"If someone is violating the law, he should face the consequences and be given the right punishment," said Ang, who was part of the Ninoy Aquino Movement in the 1980s.