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Philippine National Police

Head of Internal Affairs Service backs proposal strengthening the agency amid ‘ninja cops’ mess

in News/Tabloid PH News

The head of the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) supported a proposed bill that seeks to make the agency independent of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the setup in other countries like the United States that makes it more effective in combatting malpractices among men in uniform.

Lawyer Alfegar Triambulo, director of IAS, said they have been meaning to ask lawmakers to pass a law that will strengthen the agency, including its independence from the PNP and the power to launch both criminal and administrative investigations against rogue cops.

Triambulo added that they also want mechanisms that would enable them to give better protection to witnesses against corrupt police officers.

“Maraming gustong magsalita laban sa katiwalian sa pulis natin, pero natatakot kasi wala nga kaming ibinibigay na proteksyon sa kanila,” Triambulo said in an interview with radio station DZMM on Wednesday (October 16).

He added: ”Aming isinusulong na maging independent katulad ng mga IAS na aming napuntahan sa ibang bansa kaya sila ay matibay at kinatatakutan ng mga police organization.” 

Last October 15, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles called on fellow lawmakers to expedite the approval of proposals seeking to separate the IAS from the PNP chain-of-command.

Nograles said an independent IAS is needed now more than ever due to the diminished integrity of the existing IAS amid allegations of a cover-up by top police officials on the wrongdoings of their subordinates in the so-called “ninja cops” controversy.

The IAS currently reports to the PNP chief, as it is an essential part of the disciplinary mechanism of the organization. “It means that the IAS, based on their findings, can only recommend an action to the PNP chief. There is a flaw in the procedure because the IAS is only a recommendatory body, they have no prosecutorial powers,” Nograles said.

“As the office that oversees the conduct of the uniformed personnel, the IAS should be free from influence, pressure, and intervention from the chief PNP, and other high-ranking PNP officers in adjudicating administrative cases,” he added.

The lawmaker said if the IAS becomes independent, the recommendations of the agency will be given more importance. “I also want to give them prosecutorial powers para sila na mismo ang totoong magpu-pulis sa mga pulis (so that the IAS itself will truly police the police).”

Nograles filed House Bill 3065, seeking the removal of IAS from the supervision and control of the PNP chief. It aims to transfer the agency under the direct supervision of the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government.

Apart from investigating and adjudicating administrative wrongdoings of PNP personnel, the proposed measure also seeks to empower the IAS to have recommendatory powers in the selection and promotion of PNP personnel, including the PNP chief. The IAS could also provide assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman and other PNP Disciplinary Offices in cases involving PNP personnel. It can also recommend the admission to the witness protection program of the Department of Justice of witnesses who are vital to the prosecution of PNP personnel involved in criminal cases. 

Triambulo said the IAS in the country is not feared by rogue police officers because of its current structure, unlike in other jurisdictions.

Duterte eyes 1:500 cops-to-population ratio by next year

in News/Tabloid PH News

The Duterte administration is targeting to achieve the “ideal” 1:500 police-to-population ratio by next year by opening some 37,000 new positions in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to World Atlas, the generally accepted police to civilian ratio is 1:450, or approximately 225 police officers for every 100,000 people (per capita). 

World Atlas said Vatican City has the most police officers per capita at 15,439 (if its population is stretched to 100,000 for the purpose of computing the ratio on a per capita basis). The United States, although already with a high 3.4:1,000 police-to-population ratio, is not in the top 30.

President Duterte, in his message to the Congress in pushing the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, highlighted the need the to enlist more police officers to make sure economic growth is complemented with peace and order. “Progress without peace is futile. And to pursue progress without seeking peace – or without the willingness to pay the price for peace – is like wanting to make an omelet without breaking eggs.” 

With this, Duterte wants 10,000 new police officer positions in the PNP, and another 26,685 slots for non-officer ranked policemen. These new positions to be created will entail an additional allocation of P17.4 billion for the PNP.

“This will bring our police-to-population ratio to the ideal ratio of 1:500,” the Chief Executive said.

In the proposed 2020 budget, the PNP’s share is P184.9 billion, 30 percent higher than its allocation this year.

Some P100 million of this amount will go to the construction of 16 new police stations nationwide.

The PNP is also poised to get P546 million for its anti-illegal drug campaign, a key program of the Duterte administration.

Another Chinese nabbed in casino-related kidnapping as police form POGO task force

in News/Tabloid PH News

Police arrested another Chinese national for allegedly kidnapping a fellow Chinese in Makati City, adding to the rising number of gambling-related abductions that prompted the Philippine National Police (PNP) to form a task force dedicated to stopping these criminal activities.

Police identified the suspect as Zhaochun “Zhan Hao” Chen, 21. He was arrested on Wednesday (August 21) along with Mark Anthony Pareño, 24; John Muega, 24; Reyan Villanueva, 35; and Joe Marie Lavilla, 31, while reportedly trying to kidnap Ma Zhi Rui, 36.

On Monday, the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) presented to the media  Libu Xu, one of the alleged kidnappers of victim Xiaoguo Bian, 25, from Shandong in China.

To address the rising cases of gambling-related kidnappings involving Chinese nationals, the PNP-AKG said it is deploying teams to areas with Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) so they can immediately respond to reports of abductions in these casinos.

“This is part of our effort to address the problem of rising number of casino-related kidnappings wherein almost all of the victims are Chinese and almost all of the perpetrators are also Chinese,” PNP-AKG Director, Col. Jonnel Estomo was quoted in a report of the Manila Bulletin.

The spokesman of the PNP-AKG, Lt. Col. Elmer Cereno, said they will also deploy intelligence operatives in all casinos. “The deployment of intelligence operatives is part of our pro-active measures to address this problem.”

The AKG has also advised all policemen, especially community precincts and police stations located near casinos, to be wary of small groups of Chinese turning over foreigners as the police force could be unwittingly exploited in extortion rackets.

The AKG said the so-called POGOs, which employs an estimated 200,000 Chinese, have probably become magnets of groups victimizing Chinese tourists who frequent these casinos.

“Consequently, it can also be attributed to the increasing numbers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) operating in the Philippines. As of June 9, 2019, there were 56 licensed POGOs in the country, that employs an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 Chinese nationals. Yet, there were numbers (more or less 30) of illegal POGOS operating in the country,” Cereno said last week.

Since 2017, the PNP AKG recorded 52 cases of casino-related kidnappings and arrested 119 Chinese kidnappers.

PNP scrambles to clarify Duterte pronouncement on accepting gifts

in News/Tabloid PH News

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now apparently scrambling to issue clarificatory statements on the pronouncement of President Duterte last Friday that he is allowing policemen to accept gifts from the public—be it in kind or in cash—as long as they are given out of generosity and gratitude.

PNP Chief Gen. Oscar Albyalde said over DZMM Radio on Monday morning (August 12) that he believes the President was only referring to gifts of small value, as it is what is consistent with the law, 

“Ang sa tingin kong sinasabi ni Pangulo ay siguro ‘yung minsan kapag birthday, may nagpapadala nang pagkain na hindi naman alam o kung merong natulungan. Sa batas natin ‘yung insignificant ‘yung value gaya po ng mga pagkain na consumable na maliit na bagay. Pero ‘yun pong malalaking bagay lalo na kapag may kapalit na pabor, bawal na bawal po ‘yan (What I think the President said was maybe sometimes when there is a birthday celebration, some people send food that is not expected, or someone received some assistance. In our law, those with insignificant value, like food that is consumable and other small tokens. But those with significant value, especially if in exchange of favors, that is not allowed; that is prohibited already),” Albyalde said in the interview.

The PNP Chief is citing Section 14 of Republic Act (RA) 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which states: “Unsolicited gifts or presents of small or insignificant value offered or given as a mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship according to local customs or usage, shall be excepted from the provisions of this Act.” 

Last Saturday, PNP Spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said while they submit to the “better wisdom of our lawyer-President”, Duterte’s statement automatically comes with the condition that there should be “no element of corruption involved and no oppression or abuse of authority is committed.”

“We always explain to the public that there is no need for them to give gifts as we are just doing our job and we get paid by the Filipino people through our salaries,” Banaca said. 

On Friday (August 9), Duterte said he will not sanction policemen who will accept gifts from people recognizing their efforts. “Especially if you’re a policeman, if you’re able to solve a crime, and the family would like to be generous to you, or would nurture a feeling of gratitude for what you accomplished, then by all means, accept it,” Duterte said in his address at the 118th Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Service Anniversary.

“If you are just content of, maybe you want ₱50,000 and you’re able to get something like ₱25,000 or ₱20,000, be content. Do not allow your greed to run away with all the alam mo na, kalokohan…It cannot be bribery because it is allowed by law,” said Duterte, who previously worked as a prosecutor,” the President continued. 

Duterte was threading between provisions of RA 3019 and RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. These laws prohibit state personnel from soliciting or accepting gifts, but allow unsolicited gifts of insignificant value, and not given in exchange of a favor.

Duterte to cops: Accept gifts from grateful people

in News/Tabloid PH News

President Duterte is allowing policemen to accept gifts—be they in cash or in kind—from people recognizing their efforts without fear of being charged with graft.

“Especially if you’re a policeman, if you’re able to solve a crime, and the family would like to be generous to you, or would nurture a feeling of gratitude for what you accomplished, then by all means, accept it,” Duterte said in his address at the 118th Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Service Anniversary on Friday (August 9).

Duterte stressed that he does not see the logic in the provisions of the anti-graft law barring policemen from accepting gifts given out of generosity or gratitude.

What he does not allow, the Chief Executive stressed, is for uniformed men to become greedy and engage in corruption by demanding more than what was given to them. 

“If you are just content of, maybe you want ₱50,000 and you’re able to get something like ₱25,000 or ₱20,000, be content. Do not allow your greed to run away with all the alam mo na, kalokohan.”

This is still consistent with his pronouncement in his last State of the Nation Address, where he encouraged the public to create a scene when a government employee would demand bribes from them.

Duterte is known for thinking—and acting—outside the box, and is brazen enough to challenge conventional governance to accomplish his goals through his political will.

He assured the policemen that he will not sanction those that will accept gifts from generous people recognizing their efforts because it is not bribery. 

“It cannot be bribery because it is allowed by law,” said Duterte, who previously worked as a prosecutor.

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