Napolcom supports ‘unconstitutional’ BBL provision; solon alarmed
A ranking lawmaker expressed alarm over the National Police Commission’s (Napolcom) support for the provision in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would give primary control over public order and safety in the region to the Bangsamoro government.
Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the House Bangsamoro ad hoc committee, has said that the provision is unconstitutional since under the Constitution it was the national government has primary responsibility over all matters of public order and safety.
The proposed BBL says the Bangsamoro government “shall have primary responsibility over public order and safety within the (region).”
The same section also states that there should be coordination and cooperation between the national government and the Bangsamoro.
Napolcom vice chair Eduardo Escueta said he supported all the provisions of the section.
“On a regional scale, they may have that primacy to adapt such security and public order measures but when it comes to whether this is as equal a right of state to also perform the same functions , the answer is that the state had that primacy,” Escueta told lawmakers.
He said the Bangsamoro government would have primary control over regional concerns, while the national government over security and defense concerning national interest.
“The Bangsamoro is a region, and therefore it is considered part of the national government,” Escueta explained.
He added, “When it comes to essential functions like protection or public order and safety, the word primary here may mean to be related to regional concerns. But when it comes to how security and defense solutions shall be employed or applied, the primacy of the national government has to take over.”
In an ambush interview, Rodriguez said it seemed that the police was willing to surrender its power over public order and safety to the Bangsamoro government.
“We’re very concerned about this because they are the agencies which should make sure Bangsamoro bill follows the Constitution,” Rodriguez said.
“The primary responsibility should be under the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Napolcom,” he added.
He said the panel might remove the provision for being unconstitutional.
The House committee has resumed its deliberations on the BBL security provisions. Discussion of the provisions were suspended in the aftermath of the Mamasapano incident where the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) — the main beneficiaries of the BBL—was involved in the killing of 44 police commandos.
BACKSTORY: House suspends BBL hearings