More cadets will graduate today from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), but they will remain second class citizens in a police force whose leadership is still dominated by alumni of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
President Aquino is expected to grace the PNPA commencement exercises at Camp Castañeda in Silang, Cavite, which will be attended by other government officials.
In a letter, PNPA alumni lamented that the 325 remaining “PMAers” occupied all the top positions in the PNP while only a few of the 3,636 PNPA graduates are assigned to positions “considered to be not in the mainstream of the PNP.”
In the five-page letter, the PNPA alumni called on Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II to help “level the playing field” in the PNP for PMAers and PNPAers.
“The DILG secretary, being the chairman of the NAPOLCOM (National Police Commission) is perceived to level the playing field and probably the only hope of non-PMAers to champion their ultimate dream of holding key positions in the PNP without resulting in political patronage and religious group intervention,” the letter stated.
The group also called on PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to put premium on merits, equality and justice in appointing police officials.
The concerned PNPA alumni said the PMA graduates hold all key positions of the PNP except health service, chaplain service and crime laboratory.
Purisima is himself a member of the PMA Class 1981 while other PMAers are members of the command group, PNP deputy chief for administration, deputy chief for operations and the chief directorial staff.
“Even the Class A provincial police offices are held by PMAers and only Class B and C are predominantly being held by graduates of PNPA,” the letter noted.
The letter added that the members of the PMA Class 1984 are very fortunate to occupy eight key positions in the PNP while none were given to four PNPA graduates of 1983.
This was “alarming” since the concerned PNPA alumni were a year senior to the PMAers.
The letter said that no one from PNPA Class 1984 had been promoted to chief superintendent or one-star general but PMA Class 1984 has 15 police generals.
“With this gloomy prospect for PNPA graduates, even with their sheer superiority in numbers, they are coerced by the naked power of the minority to seek political patronage or even seek endorsement of perceived religious heavyweights in order to be given a modest position in the PNP,” the letter added.
Upon graduation from the PNPA, cadets would be conferred the rank of inspector, equivalent to lieutenant in the military, and could choose to join one of the three services – PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) or the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), all attached agencies of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Traditionally, most graduates of the PNPA join the PNP.
President Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, initiated the demilitarization of the police force in an effort to address abuses and other human rights violations committed by the Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police during martial law.
In 1991, Republic Act No. 6975 was signed, creating the PNP, which is national in scope but civilian in character, distinct from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. PMA Class 1992 became the last batch of military graduates entering the PNP and will serving in the PNP until 2026, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
The same law paved the way for the creation of the PNP Academy, which trains future police officers for “public safety.”
Last year, PMA alumni revived the effort to allow the reentry of PMA graduates to the PNP. A group of PMA graduates is urging both PNP chief Purisima and AFP chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista to endorse to the President a draft executive order allowing PMA graduates into the PNP service and the Philippine Coast Guard.
The STAR obtained a copy of a series of written communication pushing for re-entry of PMA graduates to the PNP, a move being spearheaded by the PMA Alumni Association Inc.
Meanwhile, Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) president lawyer Ruben Platon hit yesterday his non-inclusion to activities during the graduation rites today of the 202 cadets of the PNPA.
Platon suspects that he was eased out of the event due to his ongoing feud with PNPA director Chief Superintendent Noel Constantino.
Instead of Platon declaring and conferring the graduates of their Bachelor of Science in Public Safety (BSPS) degree that had been the practice for the past 19 years, Constantino will do the honor this time around.
The PNPA is one of the training schools under the PPSC.
The rift between Platon and Constantino started since the PNPA director ordered the dismantling of at least 20 stalls inside the school grounds last November.
A photocopy of an invitation program for today’s PNPA event showed that Constantino would hand over the certificate of graduation for the senior cadets instead of the PPSC head.
This prompted Platon to issue a memorandum dated March 26, 2014 reminding the PNPA director and his officials that disregarding the authority of the PPSC head is not only a violation of existing laws but is also prejudicial to the graduating class.
“It is not to be overemphasized that the conferment of academic degree and the signing of diplomas will only produce legal force and effect and create legal right if done by public officials duly authorized by law to confer and sign,” part of the memorandum said.
Platon said that there is a serious doubt as to whether the Civil Service Commission will honor and recognize the declaration of graduates for PNPA cadets whose papers will be submitted to CSC for attestation as newly appointed police, fire, and jail inspectors. Cecille Suerte Felipe With Non Aquitran, The Philippine Star