Irked over ‘Ang Probinsyano’*

A FRIEND, an avid follower of the three-year-old series “Ang Probinsyano,” the TV version of the movie made popular by the late action king Fernando Poe Jr., got worried over the announcement that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was withdrawing its support for the program.

Director-General Oscar Albayalde, PNP Chief, said the program has given a bad public image of the police in its unfair portrayal of some cops as money-hungry. The PNP chief in the program was portrayed as corrupt and violent.

PNP officials and the program’s production team set a dialogue intended to change the series’ storyline. The program, however, did not change its plot even after the meeting.

This prompted the PNP to issue a memorandum recently ordering all their units to stop supporting the production through the use of patrol cars, security detail, firearms, and other requests. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) under Secretary Eduardo Año felt sorry for the PNP and contemplated on taking legal action.

My friend pointed out that the series is sheer fiction as can be seen in its disclaimer, adding that the story does not represent any existing official or agency of government.

An alliance of artists and media practitioners condemned the supposed attempt to censor Ang Probinsyano. They said it was the administration that continues to demoralize the police force in its involvement in alleged killings under the drug war.

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Firing Line understands why the PNP reacts this way. Its top officials are doing their best to refurbish its image and be a force that is truly corrupt-free and dedicated to serve and protect the public. It, however, ought to acknowledge that despite all its efforts, there are still dirty cops in its ranks mixed up in the drug trade, rape or, sometimes, even murder.

The PNP cannot dictate on a TV program how it wants the production to treat its characters. It is plain censorship. We are not under martial law. Police officials should never forget their duty to defend the constitutional right to free expression.

So, my friend, you need not worry. There is no plan to cancel your favorite program.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/


*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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