A ranking solon from Mindanao underscored the need for a more independent Internal Affairs Service (IAS) following the shocking double murder carried out by Police Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca in Paniqui, Tarlac earlier this month.
“If the PNP (Philippine National Police) is truly bent on policing their ranks and gaining the trust of the community they serve, a more stringent internal reforms should be placed,” House Assistant Majority Leader and Anak Mindanao (AMIN) party-list Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan said in a statement.
“The institution should seriously look into the mandate entered in the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) under Republic Act (RA) 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998,” Sangcopan noted.
The IAS conducts investigations on complaints or cases lodged against PNP members. It is tasked to “instill police discipline, enhance the delivery of police service, and dispense justice” within the police force.
However, the fact that IAS is under the auspices of the PNP compromises it and the conduct of its functions, observers have said through the years.
As such, Sangcopan said that AMIN would be supporting legislative measures filed in Congress “that espouses a more structured, stronger, and independent IAS under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)” instead of the PNP umbrella.
“We believe that for the IAS to be more effective, impartial, and an efficient institution, it should primarily be free from influence, pressure, and intercession from PNP officers and peers. IAS should also have the power to formulate its own disciplinary measures and mechanisms which should be final and executionary,” she explained.
The DILG actually has supervisory powers over the PNP, which despite its recent shift to using military titles remains a civilian organization.
An irate Nuezca shot and killed his neighbors Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank Anthony Gregorio, 25, last Dec. 20. The entire incident, which took place in broad daylight, was caught on video.
The video showed the cop accosting the unarmed victims over a petty argument regarding the use of “boga” (improvised noise-making cannon) when he suddenly pulled out a handgun and shot both Gregorios in the head, twice.
Nuezca has since surrendered to authorities. He is facing two counts of murder.
“The people need to feel safe in the presence of policemen and most especially when they have cops as neighbors and not the other way around. We at AMIN hope that reforms will actually happen following the deaths of the Gregorios as the safety of us civilians, Muslims or not, depends largely on the ability of the authorities to keep the peace and sanctity of life.”
Magdalo party-list Rep. Manuel Cabochan III, PBA party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, and Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba have filed House Bill Nos. 2247, 3065, and 7734, respectively, to strengthen the IAS of PNP by amending Republic Act (RA) 8551.