THE Philippine National Police (PNP) headed by General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. has sought the help of the 19th Congress in amending Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6975 which created the police force under a reorganized Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 1990, to include the institutionalization of the National Police Clearance System, the Journal Group was told.
Gen. Azurin said they have sought the help of the House of Representatives headed by Speaker Ferdinand Martin T. Romualdez and the Senate headed by Senate President Juan Miguel ‘Migz’ F. Zubiri in approving the legislative agenda proposed by the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management under Major Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz.
According to the head of the PNP Directorate for Plans, Major Gen. Bernard M. Banac, they are seeking amendments to Section 24 of RA 6975 to include among the powers and functions of the PNP to formulate and implement policies on the institutionalization of the National Police Clearance System,
At the same time, the PNP wants to issue a National Police Clearance all over the country and maintain a national record of all reported crime incidents, warrants of arrest, pictures of arrested and wanted persons, fingerprints and ballistics examination records.
Section 24 of RA 6975 said the PNP shall have the following powers and functions: a) Enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the protection of lives and properties; (b) Maintain peace and order and take all necessary steps to ensure public safety; (c) Investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution;
(d) Exercise the general powers to make arrest, search and seizure in accordance with the Constitution and pertinent laws; (e) Detain an arrested person for a period not beyond what is prescribed by law, informing the person so detained of all his rights under the Constitution;
(f) Issue licenses for the possession of firearms and explosives in accordance with law; (g) Supervise and control the training and operations of security agencies and issue licenses to operate security agencies, and to security guards and private detectives, for the practice of their professions; and (h) Perform such other duties and exercise all other functions as may be provided by law.
In addition, the law passed 23 years ago gave the PNP the power to absorb the office of the National Action Committee on Anti-Hijacking (NACAH) of the Department of National Defense, all the functions of the former Philippine Air Force Security Command as well as the police functions of the Coast Guard.
In order to perform its powers and functions efficiently and effectively, the PNP shall be provided with adequate land, sea, and air capabilities and all necessary material means of resources, the law said. RA 6975 thus gave birth to the creation of units like the PNP Maritime Group and the PNP Aviation Security Group.
However, the institutionalization of the National Police Clearance is the 2nd top priority legislative bill of the police force.
Since 2018, nearly 300 persons wanted for rape, theft, child and women abuse and sale and possession of prohibited drugs in the country have been arrested and jailed while seeking a police clearance under the National Police Clearance System, the PNP-DIDM earlier reported to Gen. Azurin.
The top cop also said that more than P13 million in government revenues have been earned since the NPCS was implemented four years ago.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said that the arrest of the 281 from 2018 until October 31, 2022 clearly illustrated the effectiveness of the NCPC which is a web-based information system used to streamline the process of issuance of police clearance for the convenience of the public.
Based on actual records, the NPCS aided in the arrest of 281 wanted persons while applying for a National Police Clearance or NPC. Ten of the suspect were found to be wanted for rape; 5 for murder; 36 for violation of Republic Act 9262 or the anti-women and child abuse law; 30 for theft; and 11 for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Maj. Gen. Cruz described the NPCS as a comprehensive, fast, convenient and reliable system for the issuance of Police Clearance nationwide. Under the system, “all hit records of the applicant as found in the PNP crime databases will be reflected in the clearance printout with the corresponding status of such hit.’
The official said that as a result of the system, 281 wanted persons have been apprehended while seeking the National Police Clearance enabling the police force to prevent the possibility that they may commit another crime in the future.
“The NPCS actually serves as a tool in identifying wanted persons and putting them behind bars as soon as they seek the National Police Clearance from any of our police station. This actually contributes to our crime-prevention program,” he added.
A ‘streamlined and efficient way to issue police clearance,’ the NPCS is known for providing an an expeditious, equitable, comprehensive, accessible, and reliable checking of individual records.
It also supports all regulatory agencies/offices in the processing of licenses and permits and may also be used as reference for employers in the selection of their prospective employees.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said that the PNP is eager to fully implement the said system because it will provide for an efficient way to ensure that all police clearances issued are reliable, based on the real-time record of the PNP, and went through the centralized database of the PNP.
“One of the beauties of NPCS is that it provides a seamless criminal record of a person, which affects not only the peace and order situation of the country but also provides for basis for businesses and even household employment on the integrity of their prospect employees. With this, the safety of a business or a household can be guaranteed from the inside,” he said.
The PNP-DIDM said that at present, the local police clearance being issued by Local Government Units have become instrumentalities of criminals in escaping their punishments.
“Because the database of local police clearance is localized, it only retains crime data committed within their localities, which is why the police clearance they issue does not guarantee the correctness or record. This is being used by criminals to not only escape from the hands of justice but also to roam around freely and commit more crimes,” Maj. Gen. Cruz said.
“This is the reason why the country should utilize the National Police Clearance (NPC), which has a centralized database allowing criminals with Warrant of Arrest or WOAs to be detected and arrested whilst acquiring an NPC,” he added.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said that clearly, the opening of NPCS-enabled police stations will provide for more avenue where wanted criminals may be captured while applying for an NPC.
At the same time, it shall also provide funds for the PNP which will be utilized in the improvement of the capabilities of the police force particularly when it comes to ‘move, shoot, communicate and investigate.’
“This will help in the PNP’s capacity and capability building for a better investigation service and better policing,” the official said.
Gen. Azurin last year succeeded in asking officials of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGOs and Filipino-Chinese businessmen to secure National Police Clearance for their employees for easy identification and for their own protection too, the Journal Group learned.
According to Gen. Azurin, he recommended the NPC for employers since their automated system makes it easy for them to detect persons with pending criminal cases in any part of the country.