Members of the House of Representatives gave mixed reactions on the decision of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde to step down before his mandatory November 8 retirement amid allegations of his involvement in the ‘ninja cops’ controversy.
Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon welcomed Albayalde’s resignation as it will help preserve the integrity of the PNP and protect the institution from being mired in further controversy.
“He can best defend his innocence from the allegations now because he will no longer be hampered by the responsibility of leading the PNP with a serious allegation related to his duty being thrown at him,” Biazon said.
“I cannot make a conclusion regarding the issues hounding him, but I think he’s done the right thing for the PNP,” he added.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, meanwhile, highlighted that the oversight function of Congress is crucial in keeping the trust of the Filipinos in government.
Vargas stressed the need to pass new pieces of legislation to protect whistleblowers, further strengthen the National Police Commission and Peoples Law Enforcement Boards, and put in place audit systems within the PNP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
“There are at least eight whistleblower bills in the House and seven of those are pending before the House committee on justice,” Vargas noted.
“There are also pending bills meant to put in place a new Code on Crimes and update the ways law enforcement agencies conduct criminal investigations. These are important bills providing systemic solutions to the ailments of the PNP and the rest of the criminal justice system,” he said.
AKO BICOL Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the National Police Commission should have a stringent vetting process at each stage of the promotions process for every police officer vying for any command post, from the local chief of police and upwards the career ladder.
“Sa ngayon kasi, hindi na nga subject sa CA (Commission of Appointments) confirmation ang mga pulis, wala pang vetting process (Currently, the police are not subjected to the CA confirmation and there is no vetting process),” Garbin said.
“The DILG Act of 1990 (RA 6975) does not expressly provide for a vetting process, but there are examinations given by Napolcom and the Civil Service Commission,” he added.
Garbin noted that in RA 6975, Napolcom was given broad powers of administrative supervision and performance evaluation and there is also the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB), but there is no vetting process to investigate and weed out PNP officers with links to organized crime, rogue cops, unethical practices, and conflicts of interest.
He suggested that “the Napolcom and PLEBs should be empowered to vet officers for promotion prior to the recommendation phase to the President.”
He said the Civil Service Commission, Ombudsman, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Anti-Money Laundering Council, and Professional Regulatory Commission could coordinate with the Napolcom in conducting thorough lifestyle checks on police generals, as well as colonels, majors, captains, including police chiefs of cities, towns, and provinces.
“This can be done under a joint memorandum among those government offices or through presidential executive order,” he said. (PNA)