Friday, March 7, 2008

Congress should amend DILG power over police

With the kind of politics that the Philippines has, the disbandment of the Integrated National Police (INP) that led to the creation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, should not have been effected. Why is that? Because the present political set up, with the PNP put under the wings of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) is not ideal under the Philippine setting.

I think it would be appropriate if Congress will enact a new law that will amend in part under Article Two of the Local Government Code, Section 28, which in a way gives "operational supervision and control of local executives over the police force...assigned in their respective jurisdictions shall be governed by the provisions of Republic Act No. 6975."Perhaps, it is about time that this provision shall be rectified in the sense that the police are vulnerable for use and abuse by local government executives.

I knew that it is easier said than done. But why can't Congress give it a try, to pattern the organizational structure and functions of the police to that of the United States, where the police and the sheriffs are independent from political influences whatsoever in the performance of their duties. Rather than resorting to appointments of the chiefs of police by concerned higher ups, Congress should craft a bill that will elect the PNP chief, rather than be handpicked by the president.

In this way, the elected national police chief is not duty bound to be subservient to the dictates of whoever it is in power because he is elected by the people. Then, appointments of the provincial directors should now depend on the powers vested on the new national police chief. The only office that is authorized to oversee the police abuses is the National Police Commission (Napolcom). In America, it is the board of supervisors that oversees this problem. And the Department of Interior and Local Governments' mandate should be limited to overseeing purely the operations and supervision of the local government units nationwide, without the police under its umbrella.

Once this is put in place, I strongly believed that the police will once and for all free from the dictates of anybody. Perhaps, any legislator can file a resolution whose bill may be patterned after that of the Los Angeles Police Department or the New York Police Department. Under the present set up, the secretary of the DILG is also the ex-officio chairman of the National Police Commission.

This privilege must be changed under the new police set up, where the Napolcom should also be made and independent body, whose chairman shall also be elected by the people. Isn't this a wonderful idea? Unless those politicians are afraid of what will happen once the police is made an independent body would make them feel uneasy. After all, it is not the duty of the police to be tapped as security personnel of politicians and other influential people, even if they give the police elements some monthly allowances for their protection.

Perhaps, the current senator who has a good background in the police force should initiate this move so as to free the police from the clutches of the DILG. Then, the DILG's mandate should be limited to the local government units only.

No comments: