Aquino vetoes law removing height requirement for cops, firemen, jail guardsBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Policemen, firemen and jail guards should possess the necessary physical attributes to do their job, and that includes having the right height.
President Aquino has vetoed a bill repealing the height requirement for applicants to the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, saying this was unnecessary because of an existing waiver of such requirement.
The President said that height should be retained among the qualifications for admission to the service under the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1990, BFP and BJMP Professionalization Act of 2004, and the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) Act of 1990.
However, a waiver of this qualification — 5’4” for male and 5’2” for female — has been allowed under certain conditions, Mr. Aquino said.
“Hence the total repeal of the height requirement among these service bureaus is unnecessary,” he said in his veto message to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
While he agreed with its noble intent to address height equality in the three agencies, Mr. Aquino said he was “seriously apprehensive of the concerns” raised by the PNP and BJMP on the safety of their personnel and of the public.
“As raised by the BJMP, jail officers, by the nature of their work in guarding detainees or escorting criminals, must possess the necessary physical attributes to perform their functions effectively,” he said.
Too, public safety “is paramount in law enforcement by the PNP, as well as firefighting by the BFP,” he added.
With the veto, the President returned the consolidated enrolled Senate Bill No. 3217 and House Bill No. 6203 to Congress without his signature.
In essence, the President thought the proposed law would become “detrimental to the performance of their functions,” explained Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson.
This was the second bill vetoed by the President in a week’s time after the Magna Carta of the Poor, whose P3-trillion budget far exceeds the P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget. Mr. President admitted that the government could not implement the magna carta because of its big budget.
Valte disagreed with observations that lawmakers wasted resources and time to craft such a measure only to be vetoed by the President.
“I don’t think it was a waste. Let’s remember that the legislature is still independent from the Executive. That’s part of the system of checks and balances. They always have another option that they can resort to if they feel that this particular bill should still be passed into law,” she said in a briefing.
She said it would be up to the electorate to choose their next representatives in Congress.