The PNP organization has issued a memorandum to all its units nationwide that police officers must don the Santa Claus outfit when on duty, especially when doing raids and patrols. The PNP believes criminals behave like children at the sight of jolly old Santa: instead of running away from the authorities, they run towards them expecting toys rather than warrants of arrest.

Made as basis for the order was a study done by the PNP’s Department of Yuletide Criminal Behavior, an agency so top secret that it doesn’t exist. It says that in the weeks covering the Christmas season, criminals acting like children also act like bulls in their attraction to the color red. The only difference is that unlike that of a bull’s, a criminal’s attraction to red is friendly.

The theory makes sense, considering that red is the official color of Christmas and cows figure prominently in the Nativity Scene. The study – marked “confidential” and kept in a secret vault in Camp Crame – is titled, “The Cop As Santa Claus: An Idea So Funny That It Deserves A Try.”

Real life experience supports the memorandum too. Christmas traditions prevent us from thinking ill of Santa. How can you not love this rotund figure in fur-trimmed garments bringing a bag of goodies, who introduced us to sleighs and chimneys that we don’t have here anyway, and who makes millions of break-ins in a single night all for the love of children? Santa melts the heart. And our love for him is so strong that we extend it to whoever wears a Santa outfit.

That’s why in various places simultaneously, Santa is pulling Christmas robberies left and right. In one convenience store in the US, Santa did it by just aiming a gun at the cashier and yelling “HO HO HO.” The cashier was reportedly heard saying, “Santa, no need for the gun. Here’s the money and make all the world’s children happy.”

Other forms of robberies pulled by Santa have been reported all around the world. And most of these robberies met the least resistance from the victims, so that they were no longer considered robberies but making rounds for donations. Google it or check out Youtube if you think I’m making this up. Keywords are “I can’t believe I’m searching Santa robberies on the Internet.”

This means, the Santa Cop idea is not a PNP original. In fact, the confidential study mentioned above carries the subhead: “What’s Effective in Robberies Can Be Effective in Police Work Too.” All points considered, the Santa Cop theory is sound enough to be put into practice.

The first to comply with the order was the Regional Police Office 7 about two weeks ago. In a ceremony similar to a sending off of peacekeeping forces to Indonesia, policemen in the region lined up at the PRO 7 grounds to receive their supply of Santa hats and Stork menthol candies.

They were also given ATM-size cards with the Miranda Doctrine printed on them, but with a slight modification to fit the Santa Cop mission: “You have the right to remain silent – HO HO HO – Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law – HO HO HO … “

When you see these policemen in your neighborhood, don’t act surprised. Just laugh.

( cebu, december 18, 2007, opinion page)