Police control to local chief executives

OF COURSE, everyone deserves a second chance and that’s should also be applicable to rebel soldiers who were involved in the plots against the government.

But allowing them to return to full active military duty is another matter that I believe should be junked outright by the senators, majority of whom are in favor of a Senate resolution that seeks to ask PNoy to grant amnesty to Sen. Antonio Trillanes, who obviously remains in detention, and other soldiers charged during the Oakwood mutiny, Marine stand-off in Fort Bonifacio, and the Manila Peninsula siege.

There’s no doubt the Armed Forces would welcome with open hands such move to make them free men again though with certain conditions but it will certainly oppose any plans to have them reintegrated into active service. Surely, the AFP leadership would instead want to see them working outside the military which I believe should take place in order not to bring demoralization among the soldiers and personnel of the 120, 000-strong military organization.

The Senate’s move is not bad especially so with PNoy at the helm as the latter vowed in his inaugural speech that if the government is pursuing peace and reconciliation with rebel groups by granting amnesty, same privilege and condition should also be extended to its own soldiers.

In adopting the Senate resolution, the lawmakers cited some examples of how past administrations granted amnesty to rebel groups in the country like when the late President Ferdinand Marcos granted amnesty to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on February 1977; former President Fidel Ramos did the same to the Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa-Soldiers of the Filipino People-Young Officers Union (RAM-SFP-YOU) in May 1996; ex-President Joseph Estrada’s amnesty to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under proclamation 390 and 405; and PNoy’s predecessor, ex-President Gloria Arroyo who granted amnesty to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) under Proclamation Number 1377.

Such Senate resolution is evidently meant to salvage their colleague from continued incarceration despite the convincing votes Trillanes got during 2007 elections that propelled him to become part of the Upper Chamber. However, by doing so, other “mutineers” would benefit in the process but again allowing them to be reintegrated into full active military duty is a big NO that lawmakers should have strongly considered before coming out with final say on the amnesty measure.

Again, these rebel soldiers if granted amnesty which is a presidential prerogative since they deserved a second chance can be allowed to work with other government agencies but not to mingle anew with the soldiers who are just doing their duty based on what the Constitution and their superiors wish them do as against them who fought the government.

If this simple guide can be followed, there would definitely be no ugly comparison that will take place among them and demoralization will indubitably be out of question.


Now that he’s in Congress and after more than a decade as mayor of the country’s fishing capital, Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco is pushing for the return of the police control to the local chief executives to give them the power to hire and fire policemen in their turfs.

He however clarifies that his move should not be misconstrued that he’s after giving the mayors or governors in the provinces more clout to corner all illegal forms of gambling which ironically becomes a hot issue anew after it was resurrected by Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, a staunch anti-gambling advocate.

With the mayors having power to hire and fire policemen, peace and order could be ensured since anyway these local chief executives are in the first place the ones being blamed for any disorder that erupts in their localities. He says: “The burden lies upon the local chief executives who assume all the responsibilities and even liabilities of people including policemen in their turfs.”

When he was still a mayor, all he could do was to push for its return but ended up nothing because there’s an existing law that grants such power only to the National Police Commission which has control over the Philippine National Police and both being under the Department of Interior and Local Government.

But now that he’s a lawmaker, this could be the right time for Toby to convince his colleagues to amend provisions under the “National Police Commission Reorganization Act of 2008,” so that these mayors and governors would not serve as mere deputies whose actions could quickly be countered by Napolcom like in cases they abuse their authority as in attempting to convert the police into his private army. Arlie O. Calalo

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