[Statement] Re-militarization of the PNP–NO WAY! Uphold civilian supremacy. Promote rights-based policing! -PAHRA

Re-militarization of the PNP–NO WAY! Uphold civilian supremacy. Promote rights-based policing!

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The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and the undersigned stand firmly with the 1987 Philippine Constitution stating in Section 6, Article XVI (General Provision) that “The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian in character to be administered and controlled by a national police commission….” (emphasis supplied)

Civilianizing the police force was a major step by President Corazon Aquino to break the military domination designed by Marcos in establishing the Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police (PC-INP) during Martial Law. This was done when President Cory signed Republic Act No. 6975 creating in 1991 the Philippine National Police (PNP).

It must be noted though that the numerous gross human rights violations perpetrated with impunity during Martial Law, including those done by members of the PC-INP, until now have not yet been fully accounted for, much less were the perpetrators and those with command responsibility brought to justice.

Despite the legal and technical separation as well as distinction of the civilian character of the police from the military nature of the armed forces, there has been no actual complete severance. According to the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), “it is common knowledge that the [Philippine National Police] PNP, for far too long, has been under the leadership of PMA graduates with military orientation.” Thus, amidst the fact that the PNP top brass and their successors are mostly graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), what has prevailed in education and training amongst the officers and personnel of the PNP are strongly a military-mindset and behaviour.

We are alarmed that even while the last batch of military graduates from the PMA, Tanglaw-Diwa Class of 1992, are still to retire by 2026 at the mandatory retirement age of 56, there are already moves to perpetuate further the military hold on the police institution which not so subtly subverts the spirit and intent of 1987 Constitution for civilian supremacy over the military.

We firmly oppose the re-entry of PMA graduates into the PNP as per the proposal made by the PMA Alumni Association as well as the intention to maintain and embed the military hold of the PMAyers when lateral entry has been completed into the PNP as stated in a provision contained in the proposed Executive Order to be presented to the President: “Upon approval of [PMA graduates’] lateral entry to the PNP and the PCG, they shall resign their commission in the Regular Force and be commissioned subsequently in the Reserve Force of the AFP pursuant to the National Defense Act.” (Section 1,c)

When activated, will there not be a conflict on the chain of command to the detriment of the PNP?

Furthermore, such action may also put into question the consistency and sincerity of the AFP’s resolve to uphold civilian supremacy and the rule of law in the implementation of its Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) or “Bayanihan”.

We call on all to uphold the Philippine Constitutional provision and work together for one strong, professional police force that is truly civilian in character, educated and trained with human rights as preferred values in institutional work and in field operations.

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

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