MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s push for free legal assistance for police officers and soldiers who are facing charges related to the performance of their official duties.
In a statement, PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar expressed his gratitude to the president’s move, which he said will be a big help to police personnel.
“Bilang ama ng organisasyon, nagpapasalamat ang PNP kay Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa kanyang layunin na mabigyan ng free legal assistance ang ating kapulisan na nahaharap sa kaso dahil sa pagtupad sa tungkulin,” Eleazar said.
“Malaki ang maitutulong nito sa amin lalo na sa mga pulis na walang kakayahang magbayad ng abogado,” he added.
In his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Duterte urged Congress to pass a law that would provide free legal assistance to the personnel of both the military and police who face complaints from incidents related to their work.
The PNP Chief also thanked Duterte for pushing for the passage of a unified pension system for all uniformed personnel.
“Lubos ang ating pasalamat sa malasakit ng ating mahal na Pangulo na tinitiyak ang sapat at tamang benepisyo para sa mga miyembro ng unipormadong serbisyo,” Eleazar said.
“Malaking bagay ito para sa mga nagsakripisyo at nag-alay ng matagal na panahon sa pagsisilbing tapat sa sinumpaang tungkulin para proteksyunan ang bayan at mamamayan,” he added.
Eleazar assured that the PNP would participate in discussions on these proposed legislations before Congress.
Duterte earlier urged lawmakers to pass a measure providing for a unified system for separation, retirement, and pension of military and uniformed services personnel to address the bloating pension system.
The said system shall only apply to new entrants to the military as funds would not be available to cover all uniformed personnel.
A bill seeking a unified pension scheme is still pending in Congress.
The bill filed at the House of Representatives seeks to remove the automatic indexation system that pegs the amount of pension received by retirees to the current salaries of active personnel.
The bill also includes a provision of cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to ensure that monthly pensions remain on track with changes in prices and the adjustment of pensionable age to 60 years old.
The measure likewise proposes to provide higher risk insurance coverage for wounded, injured, and killed in action (on top of legislated benefits), optional retirement after 20 years but eligible only for non-pension benefits; pension eligibility begins at 60, among others.