Opposition solons slam proposal for Congress' own police force

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House Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas proposed to create the Philippine Legislative Police (PLP) to ensure the safety of lawmakers. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 26) — Opposition lawmakers criticized House Majority Leader Rudy Farinas' proposal to create a police force for the legislative arm of the government.

This, after Fariñas filed House Bill 6208, seeking the creation of the Philippine Legislative Police (PLP) to ensure the safety of lawmakers.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said this will send the public the wrong signals.

"That would be institutionalizing a police contingent at the expense of the government for legislators. That will not sit well with our constitutents with the public as a whole," Lagman said in an interview Tuesday.

Under the Fariñas proposal, the new force will be separate from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), which are both under the government's executive department.

Lagman noted that congressmen are entitled to request two police security officials from the PNP for safety concerns.

Similarly, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano says Farinas' proposal would duplicate PNP's function.

"Baka mamaya sasabihin ng taumbayan na bumubuo kami ng private police dito o private army for the congressmen. It's another gastos para sa ating gobyerno," Alejano told reporters.

[Translation: People might say that we're establishing private police or private armies for congressmen. It would also add to government spending.]

For his part, Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin says that it seems, there is a growing impunity of privileges and entitlement being sought after by congressmen with this kind of proposal.

"The Duterte administration, it seems, is promoting impunity all over the place. This kind of impunity, in the end, will be rejected by our people especially now that privileges and entitlements are just being brazenly branded about by top officials," Villarin said.

Villarin noted the recent request to grant congressmen immunity from traffic violations, and the redaction of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth of some cabinet officials.

In the bill's explanatory note, Fariñas claimed Congress relies heavily on law enforcement from the executive branch of government, which impairs the "independence"  of the branches.

The PLP will also be mandated by Congress to serve subpoenas and warrants the legislative body may issue. The force will be led by the Philippine Legislative Board, composed of the House and Senate's respective public order committees, both chamber's sergeant-at-arms, and a retired AFP general or PNP superintendent.

CNN Philippines' Digital Producer Chad de Guzman contributed to this report.