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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Proposed Philippine Legislative Police will ensure the independence of Congress – lawmakers
05 October 2017 06:25:07 PM

The House committee on public order and safety chaired by Rep. Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City) has created a Technical Working Group (TWG) to conduct further deliberations on the proposal to create a Philippine Legislative Police (PLP) under the control and supervision of the Congress of the Philippines.

House Bill No. 6208, or “An Act Establishing the Philippine Legislative Police (PLP) and Appropriating Funds Therefor,” is principally authored by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (1st District, Ilocos Norte).

A total of 63 House members have signed as co-authors of House Bill No. 6208 or the proposed “Philippine Legislative Police Act.” Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan) has been designated to head the Technical Working Group (TWG).

Acop, in his preliminary remarks, said the proposed Philippine Legislative Police will be responsible for ensuring the safety of senators and House members, protecting the properties of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and ensuring that the mandate, authority, and powers of Congress are freely carried out.

He pointed out that in the United States, a similar law enforcement agency, the United States Capitol Police (USCP), is tasked to protect members of the U.S. Congress and has been in existence for almost 200 years now.

Acop, a retired police general, said the USCP, which is composed of more than 2,100 officers and civilian employees, is responsible for protecting Congress and policing the grounds of the U.S Capitol and the Library of Congress.

Fariñas said that the establishment of the PLP will create a safe and secure environment for the senators and House members in carrying out independently their legislative duties and responsibilities.

He underscored the need to ensure security and protection of the members of Congress who are the duly elected representatives of the Filipino people.

“The reliance of Congress on the law enforcement agencies of the Executive Department in the protection of its Members and the enforcement and execution of its powers impairs to a large extent the independence of Congress from the Executive Department,” Fariñas explained.

Fariñas, a bar topnotcher, further said that through the PLP, the Congress is empowered to enforce and execute its powers of contempt and issuance of subpoenas, summonses and warrants of arrest, without depending on the law enforcement agencies, like the Philippine National Police (PNP), under the Executive Department.

Rep. Roger Mercado (Lone District, Southern Leyte) stressed that the security of the members of Congress and the preservation of the properties of the legislature cannot be underestimated.

“Several members of Congress in the past were killed or injured because of lack of security,” he said.

Mercado, chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, lauded the proposed creation of the PLP, saying that it is timely and will help uphold the independence of the legislative body and protect the country’s democracy.

House Sergeant-At-Arms retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Detabali welcomed the proposed creation of the PLP, saying it will enhance the security and protection of both the Senate and the House of Representatives and professionalizing the organization.

The Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) and the National Police Commission have expressed support to the proposed creation of the Philippine Legislative Police (PLP). / ABR