Noting that some unscrupulous parties have been abusing some safeguards in the Philippine National Police law to block the promotion of police personnel, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson filed a bill to remedy the situation.
Lacson filed Senate Bill 2429, which provides a more “reasonable” rule to deny a PNP member promotion – that is, only if there is probable cause in a pending administrative or criminal case against him or her.
“Many unscrupulous individuals had abused (the PNP Law) by using it as a tool of harassment against many members of the PNP. The baseless cases filed against some members of our police force by these individuals have served only to hinder their chances of getting the promotion they have worked so hard for. To make matters worst, such cases end up being buried in the dockets of the adjudicatory agencies in our government without any hope of it seeing the light of day,” said Lacson, who served as PNP chief from 1999 to 2001.
Under Sec. 38 of the PNP Law, “no uniformed member of the PNP shall be eligible for promotion during the pendency of his or her administrative and/or criminal case or unless he or she has been cleared by the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB), and the Office of the Ombudsman of any complaints proffered against him or her, if any.”
Lacson said his bill provides a more reasonable rule that protects not only the interest of the complainant in the criminal or administrative case, but also the PNP member who is still entitled to the presumption of innocence, a right enshrined under the 1987 Constitution.
Under the bill, a member of the PNP can only be denied promotion if there is already a finding of probable cause against him or her.
“Mere filing of an administrative or criminal complaint shall not be a bar for promotion; however, upon finding of probable cause, concerned police officer shall be ineligible for promotion; provided, that, if the case remains unresolved after one year from the determination of probable cause, the concerned police officer shall be considered for promotion,” Lacson stressed in his bill.
“Such promotion shall be granted subject to the condition that in the event he or she will be held guilty or liable for the charge, said promotion shall be recalled without prejudice to the imposition of the appropriate penalties under applicable laws, rules and regulations,” the bill added.
Also, the bill provides that PNP members who are already in the service upon the effectivity of this Act shall also no longer be required to finish a baccalaureate degree until their retirement.
But for purposes of promotion, they must still comply with the minimum educational requirement for the position or pass the equivalent competency test for police non-commissioned officers being administered by the National Police Commission, he said.