Senate to give PNP-IAS "more teeth" to enhance discipline in the police agency

Senate seeks to make the IAS more effective and efficient in the light of efforts to cleanse the police ranks.

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs headed by Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson pressed the need to strengthen the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the Philippine National Police by equipping it with adequate authority to go after erring police officers and men. Several measures seeking to make the IAS more effective and efficient in the light of efforts to cleanse the police ranks were filed in the Senate.

Senate Bill No. 1310 Amending R.A. No. 6975 (Internal Affairs Service of the PNP), authored by Senator Lacson wants the IAS to conclude its investigation within 30 days, after which appropriate administrative and/or criminal charges will be filed immediately. IAS has up to 30 days to resolve an administrative case against an erring PNP member.

Lacson's bill states that decisions by the IAS will be "final and executory but may be appealed before the Interior Secretary, where the penalty involves dismissal, demotion or suspension for more than 90 days; or forfeiture of benefits equivalent to more than 90 days of pay." It will allow IAS to make its own disciplinary rules and mechanism, including adopting provisions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ military justice system for uniformed personnel; and guidelines of the Civil Service Commission for non-uniformed personnel.

Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe, who has earlier asked the PNP-IAS to relentlessly pursue the investigation of policemen linked to illegal activities in a drive that would cleanse the police force, has filed Senate Bill No. 868 or the proposed PNP-IAS Reform Act of 2016 that seeks to form an independent institutional watchdog for the police service.

Senator Poe said it is very challenging for the PNP-IAS to police its own ranks and conduct fair and impartial investigations if its head is among the active personnel of the PNP who may be blinded by camaraderie and seniority. The Senator also raised that appropriate charges should be filed against scalawags in the police force.

Senator Poe has also filed Senate Resolution No. 70 calling for an inquiry into the non-implementation of Republic Act No. 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, which mandates that the head of the Internal Affairs should be a civilian.
Section 40 of RA 8551 states that "the head of the Internal Affairs Service shall be a civilian who shall meet the qualification requirements provided herein."

Photo taken from www.gov.ph

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