'Not all cops are like Bruce Lee'
MANILA - President Aquino does not want to lift the height requirements for cops, firefighters and jail guards, not because he is discriminating against short people, but because the jobs require certain physical attributes, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Tuesday.
Speaking to radio dzMM, Lacierda said the President vetoed two bills in Congress repealing the height requirements because of the demands of the job in the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
"Our concern there is - how effective can we perform the functions? While theoretically able and competent, he might be able and competent pero ang trabaho kasi na ito may physical attributes," the President’s spokesman said.
"If only all cops were like Bruce Lee who could beat up all the detainees…But not all cops are that good. There are just certain realities that we must face," he added.
President Aquino earlier vetoed Senate Bill 3217 and House Bill 6203 that repeal the height requirements for applicants to the 3 service bureaus.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino finds the total repeal of the height requirement "unnecessary" since a waiver of the qualification already exists under certain conditions.
The minimum height of five feet, four inches (1.63 meters) for men and five feet, two inches (1.57 meters) for women applying for these jobs, would still apply.
In the interview, Lacierda cited several instances where a height requirement could be useful to jail guards, firefighters and policemen.
The case of PBA import Cornley
He cited the case of Philippine Basketball Association import Jamelle Cornley who assaulted a policeman and had to be restrained by at least 10 cops after going on a drunken rampage on Holy Wednesday.
He said firemen are sometimes required to climb firetrucks and ladders, carry fire hoses and water cannon or even carry people out of burning buildings.
He also noted that jail guards are sometimes assigned to escort dangerous convicts.
"If we remove the height requirement, there will be some concerns if they will be able to secure detainees properly. Marami nang beses na ang preso ay tumatakas. They will be guarding prisoners who are 5’6” and 5’8”," he said.
Lacierda said the repeal of the height requirement is only the 7th time that the President exercised his veto power on a bill that would be passed into law. The President previously vetoed the Magna Carta for the Poor.
He said Aquino will discuss in the next Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting ways on how to refine the system and lessen the times the President will exercise his veto power.
He also said it is up to the legislative branch if it will use its power to override the President’s veto. This is after Sen. Gregorio Honasan reportedly said he will file a resolution when Congress resumes sessions in June to override Aquino’s veto.