I caught the middle of the consultation of the Committee on Public Order and Safety of the House of Representatives on the “PNP Modernization Bill” with hundreds of members of the Philippine National Police held last Thursday in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
|2 Philippine cops tagged in ‘hulidap’ arrested, 7 others hunted PHOTO CREDIT DZRHNEWS.COM|
Major concerns asked by Congressmen Romy Acop, Sam Pagdilao, and Pol Bataoil, who are not only retired police officials but alumni of the Philippine Military Academy, were the following: "
1) If active members of the Philippine National Police wanted that their ranking titles be reverted to the then Philippines Constabulary (PC).
It means a Senior Inspector would be called as Captain, etc.
I asked the non officers who were mostly SP04 (Senior Police Officer-4) who were near my seat if they were amenable that a Police Officer 1 would be called “Constable” while an SP04 with red six stripes and a star in the middle will be called MSGT or Master Sergeant just like in the military. Most of them did not like the idea. “It could not happen because the PNP was created as civilian in nature while those military ranks were created, well, for military purpose,” an SPO4 answered me.
“I thought you don’t want to trade off the SPO-4 or P01 rank because of the word “Officer” attached to it when in the real sense you are not officer like the Inspector or Superintendent (Lieutenant or Lt. Colonel in the military),’ I jocularly told him.
2) Congressman Pagdilao, who is running for senator under presidential front runner Grace Poe, told the police men that in their study in the proposed law a police man who committed a crime can only be relieved from his duty and restricted to the station by his chief of police or commander. “During the time of the PC a commander could even throw to jail his unscrupulous subordinate,” Pagdilao recalled.
He told the police that it is a disgrace before the eyes of the public that a police offender who was restricted “escaped” from his station. “Who among you here are in favour to return the disciplinary power of the police commander to jail his underling?” the former general asked the mostly non-officer attendees.
Son of a gun, nobody raised their hands. They want the status quo. Is this a sign that even members of the police do not want a tough measure to make them toe the line?"
3) Dagupan City’s Chief of Police Cris Abrahano, a PNPA graduate, told the congressmen that since the number of police retirees have been growing and could eclipsed the active personnel, the proposed amendment should emulate what the American labour force have been doing to its pension system: Get a portion of their monthly salary and put them in blue chips (Like Ayala Corporation, Emperador Inc, others - MCO) so they earned and could help pay the pension of the retirees whose funding has been incessantly included by Congress in the yearly appropriation of the PNP budget.
Cris said this could help the government because the bulk of the appropriation in the PNP usually goes to the personnel services.
4) Binmaley Chief of Police Supt. Mona Asis bared her apprehension that every time a police man was sued in line of duty, the poor cop shouldered all his lawyer’s expenses. Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil shared the sentiments of Mona and even told everybody that when he was the spokesman of the PNP in the national capital he was sued even he just spoke in behalf of the members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who were accused by an interest group. “I helped them looked for funds so we can pay our counsels”. Until the time the case was dismissed, Bataoil said he was prejudiced “Kasi generals na ang mga classmates (PMA) ko, ako colonel pa rin. Two- star general na sila, ako colonel pa rin”. Bataoil eventually became a three star general and then ran for a congressional post in Pangasinan. Bataoil (PMA ’76) and Acop (PMA ’70) and a lawyer, are on their second term in Congress. Bataoil is running unopposed in the 2nd District of Pangasinan.
5) Former Pangasinan Provincial Director and Retired Senior Supt. Sonny Verzosa asked the committee to include in the budget the Tanod (night guards) and their administrative control put under the PNP “just like the control of the policemen by the PNP but the supervision is still with the mayor or governor”.
Congressman Acop said that it is ideal but he feared that in case they (tanod) are included in national budget, other auxiliary workers in other departments of the government would insist to be included, too. “The government could not afford to fund them if they want to be included”.
After the consultation, In a huddle I told Sonny Verzosa (PMA ’83), who run for the mayoralty of Lingayen, Pangasinan, that his proposal was sound because the Tanod are multiplier force in the fight against criminals.
“The government is just indifferent for them to be included in the budget, but when the peace and order nose dive, the government would give credence to your proposal by even not including those other auxiliaries,” I told him.
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