PNP security group head flags legislative police encroachment
The head of the Philippine National Police unit in charge of providing security services to lawmakers has raised the possibility that the proposed Philippine Legislative Police might encroach on the PNP’s constitutionally-mandated functions.
Chief Supt. Joel Crisostomo Garcia, director of the PNP Police Security and Protection Group, said Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas’ House Bill No. 6208 “may contravene” Section 6, Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution if the functions of PLP are “not appropriately defined.”
The said provision read: “The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian in character, to be administered and controlled by a national police commission.”
Reading a summary of the PSPG position paper, Garcia said in a Wednesday hearing: “The PNP has been granted by the Constitution a wide-ranged area of functions, including various functions being proposed for the PLP.”
He also raised the possibility that the PLP may be invoked by other government branches, agencies, or even corporation to create their own police forces—”thereby creating an absurd situation.”
Fariñas, a Bar topnotcher, took Garcia to task for the wording of his position paper, which he said could have been put in “more diplomatic terms.”
He zeroed in especially on the phrase “contrary to the claim and interpretation of the Honorable Congressman” and asked: “Do you think that’s proper?” He also noted that Garcia did not even cite jurisprudence to support his statements.
Garcia apologized profusely and disclaimed that it was not an official stand approved by the PNP.
Fariñas pointed out the PLP would have nothing to do with police functions concerning the general public.
“Masyado kang overzealous… kami lang pwede niyan sa Constitution (You’re too overzealous, as if you’re the only ones who could perform the functions under the Constitution.) You don’t even try to analyze yung purpose namin. Anyway, I accept your apologies,” he said.
Fariñas in his sponsorship statement maintained that the PLP would wean lawmakers off the need to ask the PNP for their security needs. He noted that 67 PSPG personnel are currently assigned to the House, with another 24 at the Senate.
He said this impairs Congress’s independence from the executive branch of government.
“Paano po natin iimbestigahan ang chief-PNP sa katiwalian, extrajudicial killing, whatever? Eh magalit sa amin, hindi na niya kami bibigyan ng security (How will we investigate the PNP chief for corruption, extrajudicial killing, whatever? Eh, if he gets mad at us, he will not give us security),” he said.
Although Garcia clarified that PNP never had any record of denying requests for security services, Fariñas said: “It may happen. There’s nothing that may stop you from denying it.”
Fariñas said the measure was not for his benefit since he never requested police protection. He added: “This is my last term, and I will retire from politics.”
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