MANILA (Mabuhay) – Two lawmakers on Monday cast doubt on the competence of police officials who attended the day’s House hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law after one of them said the proposed legislation is silent on the relationship between the Philippine National Police chief and head of the Bangsamoro police.
Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal asked Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the House ad hoc panel on the BBL, to invite ranking PNP officials, as well as Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, to the next hearing because he is uncertain whether the representatives sent by the PNP, Sr. Supt. Cesar Binag and Chief Supt. Jose Erwin Villacorte, are competent to answer their questions on the bill.
Aside from Roxas, Oaminal wants PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Benjamin Magalong to attend the hearing.
Oaminal was incredulous after Binag, representing Espina, said the Bangsamoro bill is silent on the functional relationship of the director of the proposed Bangsamoro police with the PNP chief.
In response, the lawmaker wondered whether Binag was authorized on behalf of the PNP hierarchy. Addressing Rodriguez, Oaminal said: “May I ask whether or not the [police officials present here] are speaking on behalf of the leadership hierarchy of the PNP? Shouldn’t be those present here the next in line to the PNP chief?”
He disagreed with Binag’s position that the proposed BBL is mum on the relationship between the Bangsamoro police chief and the PNP chief. “It’s specified in the bill that the powers on operational control and supervision [of the police] are not taken away from the local chief executives. What’s provided for in the PNP Law is still there,” he said.
Binag said he was authorized by Espina to represent the PNP leadership as the latter was suffering from a certain medical condition at the time of the hearing.
Oaminal, however, was not convinced even when Binag cited his credentials, including his stint in peacekeeping missions in Cambodia and Liberia carrying out command and staff functions.
Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop, a former police official, noted that it was his first time to see Binag and Villacorte in the various committee hearings that have been conducted on the BBL since last year.
“I believe the representatives of the PNP who must come here are either General Espina or [directorial staff chief Deputy Director General Marcelo] Garbo Jr. We can also get [Directorate for Integrated Police Operations Western Mindanao head Police Director Edgardo] Ingking, as well as the executive director of the National Police Commission to give intelligent answers,” he said.
“I don’t think the [police] officials present here today are competent enough to answer our questions,” Acop added.
Rodriguez said invitations will be sent anew to Roxas, Espina and Magalong to attend the public hearing scheduled on Thursday.(MNS)