Poe calls on Duterte to appoint civilian as PNP-IAS chief

Senator Grace Poe talks to the media as she concedes to front runner Rodrigo Duterte in the presidential elections on Monday. Poe said she has accepted the electorate's decision and greeted Duterte, who is leading the count by more than 5 million votes from the next candidate with over half of the votes tallied.(MNS photo)

Senator Grace Poe talks to the media as she concedes to front runner Rodrigo Duterte in the presidential elections on Monday. Poe said she has accepted the electorate’s decision and greeted Duterte, who is leading the count by more than 5 million votes from the next candidate with over half of the votes tallied.(MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Sen. Grace Poe on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately appoint a competent and independent civilian as head of the Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) amid reports that some active police personnel are allegedly involved in illegal activities.

“It is high time that an independent and objective IAS should be put in place to effectively carry out its mandate in support of the renewed vigor of the PNP’s campaign to eradicate criminality by keeping the same within the bounds of the law,” Poe said in a press statement.

The current head of IAS is Police Director Alexander Roldan.

Poe has filed Resolution 70 calling for an inquiry into the non-implementation of Republic Act No. 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, which mandates that the head of the Internal Affairs should be a civilian.

Section 40 of RA 8551 states that “the head of the Internal Affairs Service shall be a civilian who shall meet the qualification requirements provided herein.”

It is the President who appoints the IAS Inspector General upon the recommendation of the Director General or the PNP chief and duly endorsed by the National Police Commission.

Poe said she fully supports the anti-illegal drug campaign of the Duterte administration to get rid of scalawags in the police service, but a balancing act of appointing a civilian Inspector General as head of the PNP-IAS is in order to proactively conduct inspections and audits on PNP personnel and units, investigate complaints and gather evidence in support of an open investigation, probe incidents where death, serious physical injury or any violation of human rights occurred.

The senator has filed Senate Bill No. 868 or the proposed PNP-IAS Reform Act of 2016 that seeks to form an independent institutional watchdog for the police service.

“It is very challenging for the PNP-IAS to police its own ranks and conduct fair and impartial investigations if its head is among the active personnel of the PNP who may be blinded by camaraderie and seniority. We have already seen that in previous cases,” she said.

She said the bill was the result of two legislative hearings conducted during the previous Congress.

She said the committee on public order and dangerous drugs which she previously headed found that IAS has limited authority in making mere recommendations against erring PNP personnel, subject to review and approval of the PNP chief, that led to inefficiencies in resolving administrative and criminal cases involving police officers.

“It (the bill) seeks to strengthen the IAS’ capacity to resolve disciplinary cases. It enhances the independence of the IAS by granting it authority to impose disciplinary sanctions against erring PNP personnel, subject only to review, in limited cases, by the National Police Commission. It ensures speedy disposition of cases filed with the IAS by streamlining procedures imposing timelines,” Poe said in the explanatory note. (MNS)

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