‘Additional expenses’: 3 senators see no need for Congress police force
At least three senators don’t see the need for the creation of a separate police force for the Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV think the creation of a Philippine Legislative Police (PLP), proposed by House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, would be too expensive for the government.
Fariñas recently proposed the creation of a Philippine Legislative Police (PLP) for the lawmakers’ safety and enforce Congress’ subpoena powers.
Currently, the Congress only relies on law enforcement agencies under the executive branch of government to protect lawmakers and execute contempt orders. The proposal also requires the government to provide police security to the families of the congressmen and women.
He said this “impairs, to a large extent, the independence of Congress from the executive department.”
Fariñas was also the House representative who sought for lawmakers to be given immunity from traffic violations.
“Gastos lang ‘yon. Additional gastos lang ‘yon. Ako basta kasama ko si Sig, ‘yung Sig Sauer 40 caliber (gun) ko, hindi ko kailangan ng bodyguard,” Sotto said in an ambush interview.
Sotto said if House lawmakers would approve of Fariñas’s proposal, then he would respect their decision for as long as the police security they will hire are not abusive, like some bodyguards in the Congress.
“Bottomline, it’s up to them kung gusto nila basta siguraduhin nila na ‘wag abusado ‘yung mga gagawin nilang pulis. Dahil ‘yung ibang mga bodyguard kung maka asta akala mo papatayin amo nila, lalo na mga sasakyan, mga back up kung makahawi ng ibang sasakyan grabe, hindi magtiis sa traffic,” the senator said.
For his part, Lacson, a former police chief, said this would only have a negative impact on the government budget.
Asked about the possibility of some lawmakers converting police security as their private army, he said: “Doon papunta ‘yan.”
“Kung legislative police at function is secure mga congressmen at senador, ilan per senator and ilan per congressmen. Bibigyan mo ng salaries, allowances, capital outlay, (MOOE) Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses. Ilang bilyon yan, 292 congressmen and 24 senators? Mamaya pati mga staff, mga COS maghihingian. So we will be establishing an entire legislative police force. Anong strength?” he said in an ambush interview.
Lacson added: “Wala akong nakikitang need. Anyway, hintayin namin dito. Let’s wait for the House version kung meron silang ipapasa.”
Trillanes, meanwhile, said the Senate does not need a PLP because it already has its own security, the Office of the Sergeant-at-arms (OSAA).
“As it is ‘yung sergeant at arms, minimal ‘yung requirement ng legislature for such a highly expensive security force. Hindi kailangan nito,” he said in an interview. /je