Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Thursday, Dec. 2 said he is determined to amend the Philippine National Police (PNP) law to finally free the police from the influence or control of politicians in power.
Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, announced his plan to push for an amendment to Republic Act 6975, or the PNP law, during the public hearing on the nomination of lawyer Rey Echavarria Bulay as commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) last Wednesday.
Dela Rosa manifested his support for the nomination of Bulay, a Manila Chief Prosecutor, which was confirmed in the CA plenary session right after the public hearing by a CA Constitutional Commissions and Offices committee chaired by Senator Cynthia A. Villar.
The plenary session was presided by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, concurrent CA chairman.
During the hearing, Dela Rosa said he was even more encouraged to push for the amendment of the PNP law to end the “indebtedness” of the police to politicians, or the local government units (LGUs), following Bulay’s statement on the supposed independence of Comelec.
“It also emboldens me to pursue my advocacy in insulating the Philippine National Police from undue political pressure coming from politicians. Kaya siguro ipagpatuloy ko ‘yung aking pangarap na ma-amend ‘yung R.A. 6975, or ‘yung PNP law, na dapat wala nang pulitiko na makialam sa pag-appoint ng chief of police (I want my wish to amend RA 6975, or PNP law, tqht no politician should interfere in the appointments of chiefs of police),’’ he said.
Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs committee, noted that mayors approve the appointment of their chiefs of police and governors approve the appointment of their provincial police directors.
“So, in that way, talagang ‘indebted’ ‘yung provincial director tsaka ‘yung chief of police doon sa LCE, ‘yung local chief executive, dahil nga sila ang pumili sa kanila (In that. Way, the provincial director and the chief of police are indebtedness to these local chief executives because they are ones who choose them),” he said.
Dela Rosa said he even believes the Comelec is not independent as he narrated instances before where an election officer had refused to go with him to dismantle unauthorized election campaign materials because the provincial capitol had not yet approved their food packs.
“I would like to associate myself with your (Atty. Bulay) statement about the supposed independence of Comelec from politicians or the LGUs in particular,” Dela Rosa said.
The senator from Mindanao expressed appreciation to Bulay for acknowledging the faults and gaps in the policies of the Comelec and for wanting to protect the commission’s independence.
“You bring a wealth of experience at nakikita mo ‘yung mga faults at mga gaps sa ating mga batas pagdating sa trabaho ng Comelec (you see the faults and gaps in the laws regarding the work of the ComeLec)…Mabuti naman at magkakaroon tayo ng Comelec Commissioner with the same frame of mind na nasa iyo ngayon na gusto mo ng mga reforms (It is good that we have a Comelec commissioner who has the same frame of mind such as mine who want reforms). I appreciate that.”