By Mario Casayuran
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said Saturday he favors the separation of Internal Affairs Service (IAS) from the Philippine National Police (PNP) to become an independent institution to prosecute scalawags in the 190,000-man police force.
Sotto said the move was initiated way back in the 12th Congress but the PNP itself refused. Sotto is the Senate Chief in the current 18th Congress.
‘’Sila rin komokontra, ngayon payag na sila. Mabuti naman,’’ he said. (They used to reject the proposal. It is good that they now agree.)
Sotto gave his view on the IAS issue after Baguio City Mayor Ben Magalong, then chief of the PNP crime investigation and detection group (CIDG) said separation of the IAS was the original intent of lawmakers when they crafted the PNP Law.
It was during his closed-door meeting with the senators that Magalong revealed the half-billion-peso sham drug buy-bust operation committed by the so-called ‘’Ninja cops’’ who were under then Colonel Oscar Albayalde.
Magalong said the independence and powers of IAS were diluted when the PNP hierarchy placed retired PNP generals as IAS heads.
‘’It is about time that it (IAS) be led by someone from the civilian sector who has experience in prosecution,’’ he said.
‘’So siguro ihinto na rin natin pagpili ng IAS galing sa uniformed service para di tayo beholden kasi pag uniformado may biases din.’’ he added. (We should stop selecting from the uniformed services as IAS chief so that we will not be beholden because those in the uniformed services have their own biases.)
Earlier IAS inspector general Alfegar Triambulo is lobbying Congress to amend Republic Act 8551 – the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act – to make IAS an independent body.
To avoid duplication of work, Triambulo wants the powers of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) clipped, reducing it to a policymaking body or administrator of the PNP.
The IAS will then be tasked to conduct inspection and audit of the performance of the police force.
The Napolcom is an attached agency of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which has administrative control over the PNP.
Triambulo noted that IAS counterparts in the United Kingdom are feared by police scalawags as they are independent from the police organization.