Unless its ill-equipped and undermanned Internal Affairs Service (IAS) is modernized, the Philippine National Police’s efforts to rid their ranks of scalawags – which is said to make up two percent of the 180,000-man force – will not succeed, Senator Grace Poe said.
Poe, who has publicly declared her full support to the institutional watchdog of the police service to address misdeed in the police force, said the independent IAS is “spread too thinly and with little resources to run after policemen who have betrayed their oath and disgraced their uniform.”
“To cite an example, there are only two IAS personnel in a big city like Cebu, which is the country’s biggest metropolis outside Metro Manila. There is just one IAS man assigned in Cagayan de Oro. Zamboanga City also has one,” said the legislator, vice chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
“Buti nga ang mga ito may IAS office, yung iba wala. There is no IAS office in big provinces such as Agusan del Sur, North Cotabato, Saranggani, to name a few,” the lawmaker added.
The lady senator said she was considering introducing an amendment to the proposed P135.8 million budget of the IAS for 2018 that will reflect appropriations to buy the necessary equipment to effectively carry out their mandate.
In addition to manpower woes, IAS has been plagued by equipment shortages, from cars to computers and even furniture, she said.
“Sa kabuuan, 22 lang ang laptops ng IAS sa buong bansa. Yung anim, sirain na at outdated pa. Kaya yung ibang IAS personnel, doon sa internet shop gumagawa ng report,” Poe said.
“Sa desktop computers naman, 181 lang meron ang IAS pero lampas kalahati, kung hindi sira, naghihingalo na,” she said.
Poe said the 342 chairs issued to IAS are not enough to seat all of the 704 uniformed and 80 contractual personnel assigned to it.
As to manpower, citing an official PNP report to her office, she said IAS only has 22 lawyers, “which cripple its ability to prepare legal briefs that are indispensable in preparing administrative cases against rogue policemen.”
“Isipin mo na lang, one IAS lawyer for every 8,181 policemen. Karamihan pa sa mga abogado, naka-base sa Camp Crame,” Poe said.
“So with this shortage in men and equipment, how can IAS effectively police the police?” she asked.
Under Executive Order 101 issued in 1999 to operationalize the IAS, the latter is mandated to serve as the “institutional watchdog agency” for the national police.
But such role is “subverted by the across-the-board lack in logistics and personnel,” Poe said.
“One proof of this is that since 1999, hindi pa nakatikim ng capital outlay fund ang IAS. 18 years, walang specific appropriations to buy the likes of computers,” she said.
Poe said 16 provinces have only one IAS personnel each. “Paano nya lalabanan ang mga scalawags doon kung lone ranger sya?” she said.
Poe was referring to Bohol, Negros Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Sulu, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, Dinagat, Agusan Norte, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Batanes as having one IAS personnel each.
She said IAS needs to be given more resources especially at this time when it has been ordered to review alleged extrajudicial killings.
As per latest report, 1,850 policemen are being probed for possible violation of procedures during anti-drug operations.
PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa was quoted as saying that at least two percent of policemen were “scalawags.”
“If that is equivalent to 4,000 men paid by taxpayers to carry guns, then that should be a great concern to citizens, and their separation from service, and prosecution, if warranted, should be a priority of General Bato,” Poe said.