In an effort to conduct an “internal cleansing” of the Philippine National Police (PNP), officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa yesterday prohibited cops from playing golf on weekdays.
Gamboa made the declaration at Camp Bagong Diwa, in Taguig, where Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas was installed as the new PNP-National Capital Region Police Office (PNP-NCRPO) chief.
“I am now declaring that there will be no more golf on weekdays,” Gamboa told reporters. “Nobody is exempted, starting from the [officer-in-charge] down to the lowest mammal in the Philippine National Police.”
“And if you see them playing, tell me,” he added, “and I’ll deal with them directly.”
The weekday golf ban was made official when Gamboa signed the order on Tuesday night, a day after the resignation of former PNP Chief General Oscar Albayalde, who left after he was accused of protecting cops involved in an alleged drug dealing scandal. Gamboa said that an internal cleanup of the PNP is necessary to win the public’s trust and to clear the PNP of “dirty cops.”
Cutting back time on the golf course, it would seem, is central to that effort.
“I’m open to the sport, but not on weekdays. Holidays, weekends is fine by me,” Gamboa said, before joking, “but I’ll set up a conference on Saturday so they won’t be able to — no, no, let’s not deprive them of that.”
Sinas, an avid golfer himself, told ABS-CBN News that a round of golf could last four hours, which could take up a policeman’s entire morning. The new NCRPO chief claimed this could leave cops exhausted before they even report for work.
But Gamboa might have other reasons for the ban. Pressed by reporters, who asked why it was necessary to ban the sport, Gamboa replied, “You deduce from it. Why golf?”
“Because traditionally it’s being played by other people, and you know, it has a different projection,” Gamboa said, perhaps alluding to the sport’s image as a pastime strictly for the elite.
Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief himself, yesterday tweeted that the ban was “very sound and fair.”
PNP OIC Gamboa’s marching order to police golfers to resist the fairway during office hours is very sound and fair. Policemen may instead sacrifice family time during weekends, not that of government that feeds their families.
— PING LACSON (@iampinglacson) October 16, 2019
Lacson told The Philippine Daily Inquirer that the weekday golfing ban had also been imposed during his time on the force. In fact, he said, it “was one of my first instructions” when he became a National Police chief in 1999.
“No one can play golf during my time, because policemen feared me when I was their chief,” Lacson said in Filipino. “Aside from golf, [I] also strictly prohibited extortion and bulging tummies.”
Well, at least he had his priorities in order. Kinda.
Find all episodes of The Coconuts Podcast
This article, Put the Putter Down: Police chief bans cops from golfing on weekdays, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!