DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /26 October)– Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent House Bill 3768 which proposes to revive the Philippine Constabulary (PC).
Pimentel is proposing that the elite Special Action Force (SAF) be the first batch of officers “to concentrate on suppressing domestic security threats, particularly terrorism and insurgency.”
“Considering it was the President himself who first broached the renewal of the PC, we’re asking him to certify our bill as urgent. But that is really up to the President, whether or notnhe certifies the measure,” Pimentel, a member of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, said in a press release issued by his statement.
Duterte on September 20 told soldiers at the 10th Infantry Division camp in Mawab, Compostela Valley that he wants to revive the PC.
“Gusto kong ibalik yan sa ano, ibalik ko yang Philippine Constabulary. Yang pulis na yan, diyan na kayo kung saan kayo (the police, you stay where you are), but I will return the Philippine Constabulary under the (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Duterte said, adding there would be four commands under the AFP: Army, Navy, Air Force and PC “kasi kailangan ko ng tao doon sa urban terrorism like the SAF, iyong mga bata” (I need people in urban terrorism, like the Special Action Force, the younger ones).
The PC was merged with the Integrated National Police to form the Philippine National Police in 1991.
Pimentel explained that with the President’s resolve to chart a truly independent foreign policy, “it has become absolutely imperative for Congress to release the AFP from its duties in maintaining internal security.”
The AFP’s three existing service commands – the Army, Navy and the Air Force – should now concentrate entirely on preparing to defend the national sovereignty and territory against external threats, he added.
Pimentel’s bill proposes that the new PC would have jurisdiction in civil law enforcement, and its pioneers would be the SAF troopers, who, he said, “are in the best position to spearhead the new PC. They‘ve undergone extensive military-type training in counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare, critical incident response, hostage crisis and rescue as well as anti-hijacking operations, and in offensive take-over raids against targets in civilian areas.” (MindaNews)