FORMER Philippine National Police chief-turned-Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa has clarified that a Senate bill he has introduced will not allow the entry of active officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the national police force as it is really against the Constitution.
The lawmaker made the clarification during a meeting with the PNP Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PNPAAAI) Board of Trustees led by retired Police Major General Gilbert DC Cruz on Monday.
During their meeting, Sen. Dela Rosa told the PNPA graduates or Lakans that the Constitution prohibits the lateral entry of active military officers into the PNP.
“As principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2449 or An Act Providing for Organizational Reforms in the Philippine National Police, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the Department of the Interior and Lcoal Government Act of 1990 as amended and Republic Act No. 8551 otherwise known as Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, reported out in the Senate plenary by the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, I have received numerous letters and proposals to amend the current provisions of Senate Bil No. 2449 from different government agencies and concerned organizations,” he said.
The member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 said that “one of the proposals we received informally, is an amendment to allow the lateral entry of active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the Philippine National Police.”
“To set the record straight, Senate Bill No. 2449 which is currently being deliberated on in the Senate plenary does not contain any provision that seeks to allow lateral entry of active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the Philippine National Police which is a civilian agency.
“Furthermore, I have not received any official communication endorsing or proposing such an amendment to the pending legislate measure,” he said.
“Being the principal sponsor of the aforesaid bill, I am mindful of the Constitutional provision that prohibits members of the armed forces in the active service to be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government. As such, I will not support any amendments that will result in the lateral entry of active members of the AFP to the PNP,” Sen. dela Rosa said.
The former PNP chief-turned lawmaker met the PNPAAAI officials after receiving a letter from the organization last November 23 in which the Lakans opposed the proposed provision to be included in the bill.
Cruz, now the Executive Director of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, was joined by fellow Lakans, retired Brigadier Generals Dominic T. Bedia and Joaquin R. Alva and Colonels Serafin F. Petalio II and Byron T. Tabernilla in meeting Sen. dela Rosa and telling him that the proposed bill has become a ‘hot topic’ in the police force and particularly created a clamor among the Lakan community.
During their discussion, Sen. dela Rosa clarified that he received the proposal informally from some sectors within the AFP who have broached the idea of allowing the lateral entry into the PNP Provincial Mobile Force of active AFP members.
“Never sumagi sa isip ko yan,” Sen. dela Rosa assured the PNPAAAI officials.
“At face value, hindi ko inentertain yan. Hindi papasa yan – constitutionality, legality, morality, maraming implications yan,” the senator added.
While Sen. dela Rosa said he appreciates the informal input on matters of national importance, he emphasized that this proposal will not be considered within his committee due to constitutional infirmities.
“Transfer of functions, not transfer of personnel,” said Sen. dela Rosa as he maintained that his commitment to upholding the Constitution is paramount, and any proposed legislation must adhere to its principles.
The presented proposal earlier raised constitutional concerns that cannot be overlooked; thus, it cannot be endorsed or supported in any legislative initiative, according to the PNPAAAI.
Sen. dela Rosa assured the PNPAAAI that any proposal will undergo thorough examination for its legal implications and potential impact on the PNP organization.
Following their meeting with Sen. dela Rosa, the PNPAAAI Board of Trustees appealed to its general membership to actively participate in this matter and encouraged everyone to engage in a more active process.
“Rest assured that the PNPAAAI will do its best to protect the Association and promote the morale and welfare of all Lakan,” said the group in a statement.