PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed the law that modifies the classification of ranks and clarifies the command and responsibility in the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Malacañang released to reporters on Thursday copies of Republic Act No. 11200, which the President signed on Feb. 08.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill 2031, said in a statement: “This measure eliminates confusion on how our law enforcers must be addressed, and brings our policemen closer to the populace. More importantly, this allows for better coordination between the PNP and other law enforcement units in countering terrorism and other threats to national security.”
He added that under the new law, “the PNP’s rank classification system will be distinct from that of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with ranks used in addressing PNP personnel preceded by the word ‘Police.’”
According to the new law, the PNP rank classification shall be as follows: Director-General to Police General, Deputy Director-General to Police Lieutenant General, Director to Police Major General, Chief Superintendent to Police Brigadier General, Senior Superintendent to Police Colonel, Superintendent to Police Lieutenant Colonel, Chief Inspector to Police Major, Senior Inspector to Police Captain, Inspector to Police Lieutenant, SPO4 to Police Executive Master Sergeant, SPO3 to Police Chief Master Sergeant, SPO2 to Police Senior Master Sergeant, SPO1 to Police Master Sergeant, PO3 to Police Staff Sergeant, PO2 to Police Corporal, and PO1 to Patrolman/Patrolwoman.
Mr. Lacson also noted that it “has been nearly 30 years since the passage of Republic Act 6975, yet almost everyone has been more accustomed to the rank classification using military terminologies but are aware that they are referring to the police and not the military.”
Sought for comment, lawyer and Ateneo Policy Center research fellow Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco said in an e-mail: “I do not believe this law will be helpful in addressing the trust-deficit the PNP has been struggling with. The public’s confidence in the police will not suddenly improve by militarizing their ranking system. In fact, it may even worsen the PNP’s image problem as comparison to the PC (Philippine Constabulary) days under Martial Law will be inevitable.”
“Moreover, this law seems inconsistent to the constitutional prescription that the National Police must be civilian in character. Using military language in the ranking system will certainly instigate the public to think there is an effort to militarize the PNP. I would not be surprised if this law is brought to the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin