Press Release
April 2, 2006


Instead of clipping the powers of the Commission on Appointments over military appointments and promotions, its scope of authority should be expanded to include the director general and other senior officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. said today.

Pimentel said the CAs lack of jurisdiction over appointments and promotions in the 116,000-man PNP is a serious constitutional aberration that should be remedied to ensure that appointments to top positions in the police organizations are made only on the basis of merit and exemplary track records of officers.

Under the 1987 Constitution, only the appointments of senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with the rank of colonel up to chief-of-staff, are subject to review and conformation of the Commission on Appointments. It is only logical that the director general and other senior officers of the PNP, possibly with the rank of not lower than chief superintendent, should be placed under the review and confirmation powers of the Commission, he said.

The minority leader broached the proposal in response to the stand taken by Gen. Generoso Senga, AFP chief-of-staff that only the highest ranking officials of the AFP should be subject to CA confirmation to reduce politicians influence over the military. Senga believes that the CA should no longer go over the appointments of colonels and brigadier generals.

Pimentel said the delisting of lower-ranked senior officers from the jurisdiction of the CA can be made only by amending the Constitution and not through an enabling law passed by Congress. The proposal to clip the powers of the Commission over military appointments is embodied in the legislative measure to amend the National Defenses Act of 1935.

The lone senator from Mindanao recalled that the 8th Congress had passed a bill calling for a relisting of presidential appointees whose appointments should be evaluated and concurred with by the CA in 1987. The bill was intended to rectify the constitutional flaw arising from the non-inclusion of important government positions from the scope of the Commissions review powers under the Constitution.

However, the bill was vetoed by then President Corazon Aquino and her decision.

Pimentel held the view that the framers of the 1987 Constitutional did not intend to exclude the PNP director general and other senior police officers from the requirement of being confirmed by the CA.

When the 1987 Constitution was drafted and promulgated, there was no PNP yet. But the Constitution mandated the creation of a national police that was national in scope and civilian in character to replace the Integrated National Police-Philippine Constabulary which was then part of the AFP.

Pimentel pointed out that it was only in 1989 that the Congress enacted a law creating the Philippine National Police as an agency under the Department of Interior and Local Government.

So obviously, it was due to oversight that the director general and other senior officers of eh PNP were not mentioned in the enumeration of presidential appointees subject to review and confirmation by the Commission on Appointments under the Constitution, he said.

Actually, Pimentel had proposed the inclusion of the PNP director general and other senior police officers under the scope of the Commissions powers shortly after the enactment of the PNP law. But he said the proposal did not prosper because of the persistent objection from the executive branch.

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