Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee, yesterday sought to strip governors and mayors of the power to select their provincial, city, or town chiefs of police.
Lacson has filed Senate Bill No. 971 which seeks to increase the level of professionalism in the police force, especially in the selection of provincial commanders and city and town chiefs of police, and free policemen from the stranglehold of politicians.
Under the bill, the original powers of provincial governors to name provincial commanders will now be exercised by regional directors.
City or town police chiefs will now be named by provincial or district directors, no longer by city or town mayors.
When enacted into law, the measure would encourage local police commanders to concentrate on their jobs and not be indebted to local executives who invoke their appointive authority, Lacson, PNP chief from 1999 to 2001 during the Estrada administration, said.
“While the constitutionality of such appointive jurisdiction is a settled question, nothing prevents the Congress from reviewing the wisdom and logic behind said policy in order to further enhance police professionalism and to isolate the police service from political domination,” Lacson explained.
Lacson said controversies in the past have “developed a public perception that conflict of interest arises when provincial directors and police chiefs end up being indebted to local chief executives because of the latter’s appointive authority.”
Lacson’s bill, titled “An Act to Further Professionalize the Police Service Amending for the Purpose Pertinent Provisions of Republic Act No. 6975 as amended by Republic Act No. 8551 and for Other Purposes,” gives the PNP regional director the authority to choose the provincial or district director. It also lets the provincial or district director the authority to select the city or town chief of police. (Mario B. Casayuran)