Lacson Bats for Commensurate Authority for PNP Chief

In the wake of reports that Philippine National Police funds are being diverted to bribe potential Palace allies, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson pushed Tuesday for “commensurate authority” for the chief of the PNP to prevent such irregularities from happening. 

Lacson, a former PNP chief, lamented the Chief PNP is presently powerless in transferring and appointing officers to various posts within the police force, with the interior secretary calling the shots instead.

“I dare the PNP to deny this, that the CPNP has no power to designate PNP officers to various positions. Instead, it is the secretary of the Interior Department who has the power. I dare them to deny that,” Lacson said.

With the interior secretary – in this case the concurrent chairman of President Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party – calling the shots, Lacson said it is not far-fetched to have the secretary handle the PNP’s funds as well.

“What we have is an interior secretary who happens to be the chairman of the president’s party. We cannot help but suspect that the president’s allies will, through the secretary, have a say in having certain protégé policemen assigned to sensitive positions,,” he said.

Earlier, Lacson cited information reaching him indicating that at least P160 million of the PNP’s counterinsurgency funds were diverted to “cash gifts” for some Palace allies in the Lower House.

He said this is why it is imperative that Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno testify at the Senate hearings on the alleged “Bribery in the Palace” scandal.

On the other hand, Lacson said Puno as interior secretary during the time of former President Joseph Estrada could not get hold of the PNP funds because he requested Mr. Estrada to give him the commensurate authority to handle the funds.

“I asked for full authority during my time. That is not the case now. What we should do is give the PNP chief commensurate authority for the big responsibility he faces. Otherwise, how do you discipline protégés who commit abuses?” he said.