Gordon pushes for measure that will create special court to handle cases committed by policemen
Senator Richard J. Gordon underscored having the ability to hold erring members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) accountable through the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 2331, which seeks to establish a specialized court handling cases involving its members. Gordon, the Senate Justice and Human Rights Co mmittee chairman, described accountability as the hallmark of modern democratic governance through the Police Law Enforcement Court.
“There exists a significant and overarching constitutional and fiduciary principle that those entrusted with public power are accountable to the public for the exercise of their trust,” said Gordon during his sponsorship speech.
“Our institutions must be seen as an instrument which signals competence and organizational trustworthiness. What we see and hear nowadays foster fear of the law enforcers. Kaliwa’t kanan na batikos ang inaabot ng PNP,” he added.
It may be recalled that several PNP officers were involved in numerous cases of incompetence and dereliction of their mandated duty.
PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz were convicted of murder charges committed against 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in Aug. 2017.
Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca was also convicted after murdering Sonya and Frank Gregorio in a well-documented incident last Dec. 2020.
Meanwhile, Police Corporal Oliver Ferrer pulled out his service firearm allegedly as a joke, toyed his gun, and accidentally killed a drinking buddy during a drunken stupor last Sept. 2021.
Gordon, a lawyer by profession, said that the 1987 Constitution mandates measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy, equality, accountability, and due process, but is not being currently fulfilled.
“What we need is to restore the trust of the people in the PNP by having a special system that will expeditiously solve cases that involve the members of the PNP,” remarked Gordon.
“This bill is in no way a form of punishment, but a guarantee of efficiency in handling decisions and resolutions of cases. This will provide the public fair, impartial and speedy disposition of complaints for violations of constitutional rights, PNP operational procedures and code of ethical standards,” he continued.
Under the proposed law, the Supreme Court shall designate a special court as the Police Law Enforcement Court among existing Regional Trial Courts which will all handle civil and criminal cases committed by PNP members, whether on or off duty.
It will also designate an appellate police court among the divisions of the Court of Appeals to handle all appeals stemming from the police courts.
Per figures from the Supreme Court, there are 398 criminal cases pending which involve police officers as defendants as of June 2021.