PNP to enforce law in Bangsamoro, says DILG chief
By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star)
A Muslim girl flashes the peace sign during a gathering of supporters of the Bangsamoro framework peace agreement near Malacañang yesterday. VAL RODRIGUEZ
MANILA, Philippines - The government will insist on having the Philippine National Police (PNP) as the principal law enforcement agency in all parts of the country, including the proposed Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the position of the government would be manifested by the negotiators during the crafting of the basic law to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
During a radio interview last Sunday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson raised concern over the possibility of a new police force, other than the PNP, being set up in the Bangsamoro.
Lacson said the President must remain the overall commander-in-chief of the country’s Armed Forces, including the PNP, and that any police force should be under the supervision of a civilian body such as the National Police Commission for the PNP.
Roxas noted that once the negotiations are concluded, the position of the government would be contained in the annexes of the framework agreement.
“The stand of the government is based on the Constitution, which states that there is only one police force, national and civilian in character,” Roxas said.
He said different processes may emerge on the establishment of a police force in the Bangsamoro region, but whatever this may be, it should be under the Napolcom to “ensure civilian supremacy in the police.”
A government panel’s copy of the framework agreement states that “as a matter of principle, it is essential that policing structure and arrangement are such that the police service is professional and free from partisan political control.”
“The police system shall be civilian in character so that it is effective and efficient in law enforcement, fair and impartial as well as accountable under the law for its action and responsible to the central government and the Bangsamoro government and to the community it serves,” the framework agreement further states.
Roxas is confident that the framework agreement and the subsequent basic law that would be crafted will be constitutionally sound.
He said the process being undertaken by the administration with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is unlike in the previous administration where Congress and the other stakeholders were not involved in the consultations. With Jaime Laude