MANILA -- Stressing the importance of a commander being responsible for training his personnel, Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday sponsored a bill that seeks to transfer the training of police recruits to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Under the current setup, all police recruits undergo a training program under the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) before they are turned over to the PNP for formal hiring.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, said the PPSC is the premier educational institution for the training of all personnel of the PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) and the National Police Training Institute (NPTI) are constitutive units of the PPSC mandated to train commissioned and non-commissioned officers, respectively.
However, the sponsored Senate Bill No. 1898 is meant to place the two constitutive units of PPSC, the PNPA and the NPTI, under the PNP.
Senate Bill 1898 is the consolidation of Senate Bill 574 authored by Senators Antonio Trillanes III and Joel Villanueva, and Senate Bill 1834 by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, emphasized how the PNP has been at the receiving end of criticism, being at the frontline of law enforcement. However, he stressed that education and training of recruits are not provided by the PNP but rather, by the PPSC.
“Time and again, we have heard of bitter exchange of words among previous and even the new leaderships of the PPSC and the PNP relating to human resource issues. We have proven over the years that this blame game resolves nothing. Even worse, this aggravates the looming problems in our police service,” Lacson said.
“It is high time that we stop throwing blame and start pinpointing full responsibility,” he added.
Lacson lamented the evident mismatch between the PNP's training expectations and requirements to the actual services provided by the PPSC.
“Much to our dismay, public hearings held by the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs over the last couple of months bore a striking and appalling consistency: police officers involved in crimes and other shenanigans, such as bribery, kidnapping, drug use and planting of evidence, are the new members of the PNP,” he said.
Lacson cited examples such as the August 2017 incident cops with ranks ranging from Police Officer (PO) 1 to PO3 allegedly perpetrated the consequent murder of 17-year-old Kian Loyd de Los Santos and the alleged related killings of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo "Kulot" de Guzman.
More recently, the senator said policemen of Muntinlupa City, among whom were five police newbies, were busted in a case of kidnapping and “hulidap” or illegal arrest with robbery extortion.
Lacson commended the efforts of PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde to “eviscerate” the police ranks until not a single misfit is left in the PNP.
He, however, pointed out that it would serve the country better if the PNP handles the training of police recruits.
“This representation stands with the belief that the PNP can better serve the greater interest of the State if it assumes the mandate of the PPSC in the training and education of its personnel,” Lacson said.
“As a consequence thereof, the PNP will be accountable to the entire gamut of responsibility from recruitment, education, field training, and deployment of police officers,” he added.
Lacson, meanwhile, joked about how this measure has united “two most unlikely people.” He was referring to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the principal author; and President Rodrigo Duterte.
He quipped about toying with the idea of having a photo of both Trillanes and Duterte holdings hands but noted they might both get mad at him and consider filing charges.
Last May, Duterte said he might return the training of police recruits to the PNP, as training under the PPSC “has not done good.”
Duterte said he believes PPSC president and retired Police General Ricardo de Leon was very “competent” but noted that the system where PPSC handles training “ain’t working.” (PNA)