Lawyers who defend cops hope for pay raise too
They number less than a hundred now, but police-lawyers are optimistic that under the administration of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, their career track would become more attractive.
This optimism was expressed by members of the Philippine National Police Legal Service during a press briefing at PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, on Wednesday.
“Our president-apparent has been very vocal about raising the salaries of police officers. Along that line, our unit is very optimistic that police-lawyers would also enjoy a higher compensation package. With a higher compensation package, we will be able to attract more fresh graduates and seasoned lawyers to join us in the service and the PNP,” said PNP Legal Service spokesperson Supt. Lyra Stella Valera.
Valera admitted that the salaries of police-lawyers tended to be “not competitive” compared to the salaries of lawyers in the private sector or even other government agencies such as the Office of the Ombudsman.
“We haven’t conducted a comprehensive study…but we’re looking at it. We should be at par with the Ombudsman or [public] prosecutors,” when it comes to compensation, Valera said.
At present, the PNP Legal Service has 93 personnel nationwide to serve police officers facing “service-connected cases” in around 80 provinces.
Valera said there were at least two police-lawyers deployed to every region.
In 2015, the PNP Legal Service handled the cases of 93 commissioned police officers and 114 noncommissioned personnel.
Service-connected cases include criminal complaints against police officers, such as unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention or physical injuries, and administrative complaints such as misconduct, neglect of duty, or irregularities in the performance of duty.
Valera said the PNP Legal Service was short 103 personnel in its objective to provide one lawyer for every police provincial office, city police station and units in the national headquarters.
“Yearly, some of our personnel leave, most of whom retire or resign,” Valera said, adding that their unit’s yearly recruitment quota tended to be small since it was dependent on the budget allocation for salaries.
The last recruitment slots were all filled, but only numbered 12, Valera recalled.
“So it’s interesting to see what will be the policy direction under a salary increase,” for police officers, she said, adding that it was the PNP Legal Service’s “hope” that it would lead to more personnel.
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