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PNP chief to give legal assistance, health cards to cops

May 30, 2024 Alfred P. Dalizon 168 views

PNPPHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief General Rommel Francisco D. Marbil is on a mission to provide members of the police force legal assistance program topped by a health card, the Journal Group learned.

The top cop admitted that although they have good lawyers from the PNP Legal Service, these lawyers are not enough to assist policemen facing service-related charges or ‘harassment suits.’

Gen. Marbil cited their ongoing talks with the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund, Inc. (PSMBFI) which has committed to provide millions of pesos to provide adequate legal assistance to policemen facing so-called harassment suits.

The official said that PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Lieutenant Gen. Emmanuel B. Peralta is leading the effort as they know fully in many cases, policemen slapped with counter-charges in the performance of their duties are forced to spend money from their own pocket in order to get legal help.

Instead of donating cars and other equipment to the police force, the PNP chief said the PSMBFI can support their legal assistance program financially.

The PSMBFI headed by their Chief Executive Officer and President Jose Chiquito Malayo initially allocated P30 million to provide immediate financial assistance to policemen facing service-related cases.

At the same time, the company also provided the PNP a total of P26.5 million to support the travel expenses of policemen serving as prosecution witnesses in the country.

Policemen facing service-related cases, otherwise known as ‘harassment suits’ usually complain they lack the money to seek a good private lawyer to help them, pay for their travel expenses once they are required to attend court hearings, and most importantly, pay for bail bonds ordered by the court.

A portion of the fund donated by the PSMBFI will be allocated to enhance the capabilities of the PNP-LS. If successful, PSMBFI has committed an additional P240 million over the next five years to sustain the program.

Gen. Marbil also said that already on their drawing board is a plan to give each member of the police force a health card.

Now headed by Brigadier Gen. Arthur R. Llamas, the PNP-LS through its Panyerong Pulis @ Ur Serbis 24/7 provides on-the-spot legal assistance exclusively to PNP personnel in need of immediate legal consultation through multimedia modes of communication such as internet, facsimile, landline and cellular phones.

The program also answers legal queries regarding PNP operational concerns, criminal and civil procedures, salient features of relevant laws and issuances and determination of appropriate action to be undertaken or case to be filed against the offender depending on the facts of a given case.

These queries must come from PNP personnel who need immediate, reliable and credible legal advice and response from a lawyer who is also a PNP officer.

PNP-LS lawyers also conduct legal seminars and lectures nationwide to keep PNP personnel abreast with law and jurisprudence; and to discuss and manage pressing legal issues affecting the enforcement of the law.

The program covers issues and matters in a particular area of legal concerns as well as relative laws e.g salient provisions, implementing rules and regulations, and amendments of said laws.

However, a perennial complaint is that lack of PNP-LS lawyers prevent them from really answering all the needs of policemen on the ground especially when it involves PNP personnel who have been slapped with criminal, administrative and civil suits as a result of the performance of their official duties.

If the problem is being felt by policemen assigned in Metro Manila and other highly-urbanized parts of the country, what more with those stationed in far-flung areas where there are no PNP lawyers to help them in case they find themselves being sued by people they have arrested.