Independent police probe body pressed

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    THE “ninja cops” controversy should now compel Congress to act on a measure seeking to separate the power and authority of the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) from the influence of the entire police leadership, including the director general, an administration lawmaker said yesterday.

    In filing House Bill 3065, PBA party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles sought to amend the PNP Reform Reorganization act of 1998 (Republic Act 8551) and create an Internal Affairs Service outside of the PNP chain-of-command.

    Nograles said that under the present set-up, the brotherhood system among members of the PNP “has diminished the integrity of the existing internal affairs service amid allegations of cover-up by top police officials on the wrongdoings of their subordinates.”

    Nograles noted that even former CIDG chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has proposed that the IAS be removed from the supervision of the PNP leadership.

    “The Internal Affairs Service of the PNP is an essential part of the disciplinary mechanism of the PNP. It serves as the monitoring body of the character and behavior of all policemen and operates as the investigating and adjudicatory body on all administrative offenses committed by PNP personnel,” Nograles said in the bill.

    “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,” Nograles said.

    PNP spokesman Bernard Banac said the PNP will cooperate with the House in its plan to conduct hearings for a totally independent Internal Affairs Service.

    Banac said the PNP has already looked up to IAS as an independent body which imposes penalties to erring cops.

    HB 3065 removes the IAS from the supervision and control of the PNP chief and transfers the same to the direct supervision of the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

    Apart from investigating and adjudicating administrative wrongdoings of PNP personnel, the bill also seeks to empower the IAS to have recommendatory powers in the selection and promotion of PNP personnel.

    The IAS could also provide assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman and other PNP disciplinary offices in cases involving police 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 erring personnel involved in criminal cases.

    Nograles said the proposed IAS will have its own organizational hierarchy which will be headed by an Inspector General. It will establish regional, provincial, city and municipal offices nationwide, with a separate staffing pattern and mode of recruitment for its personnel. – With Raymond Africa