Senate panel recommends removing PNP control over internal investigating body

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2019 09:38 PM

MANILA—The internal investigating body of the Philippine National Police (PNP) should be moved under the supervision of the Ombudsman or the justice department, a Senate panel that probed the police’s alleged involvement in the reselling of narcotics said.

The PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS), which investigates cases involving police, should be a “truly independent institution” not within the police force, the Senate blue ribbon committee said in its partial report and recommendations released Wednesday.

The committee’s recommendations were based on its findings that former PNP chief Oscar Albayalde and 13 police officers from Pampanga mounted a “rub-out” in the guise of a buy-bust operation, tampered with evidence, and resold some 160 kilograms of shabu worth around P648 million.

“Many transgressions during the raid were not documented in the summary report of the buy-bust,” blue ribbon committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon said in a speech delivered before other lawmakers.

“Worse, the police who conducted the raid were recommended for promotions and recognition for the successful operation.”

The IAS should be placed under a new Ombudsman office or Department of Justice section dedicated solely to probing cases involving uniformed personnel, the panel said.

The practice of giving special accommodations to upper or lower classmen among uniformed personnel should also be stopped, it said.

The panel’s other recommendations were:

  • Amending the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 to allow persons of good repute to monitor buy-busy procedures;
  • Suspension or dismissal of rogue police instead of reassigning them to other posts;
  • Confiscation of firearms and badges of rogue police;
  • Shortening the review of administrative cases against rogue police;
  • Creation of a training program that professionalizes the police force in all levels and;
  • Mandating a 4-year college course for police

The blue ribbon committee earlier recommended the filing of graft and drug charges against Albayalde and his men.

But the panel’s recommendations remain as legislative suggestions that could be ignored by the prosecutorial agencies.

National Police Commission vice-chairman Eduardo Casurao earlier said testimonial evidence against Albayalde gathered during the blue ribbon’s probe carries little weight.

“It’s hard to establish that he knew of the operation from the very start,” Casurao told ANC’s “Early Edition.”

"We must not lose sight of the fact that what is intended to be achieved in legislative investigation is to improve our laws.

“These are 2 different things that should differentiate the kind of evidence that is necessary in administrative investigation and in aid of legislation.”

Gordon warned that ignoring the Senate committee’s findings and recommendations could lead to repercussions.

“It is a very serious recommendation that everybody approved and it behooves other department agencies to study and file the case,” Gordon told ABS-CBN News.

“People are upset. They want to make sure that they are protected. They want to feel safe.

“If these guys get off the hook, who is gonna believe the police?”